Pharyngula

No teabagging for me

It’s a question that makes it hard to suppress a giggle: how many of you are going to be teabagging today?

I think it’s awesome that this last desperate gasp of the far right wing to achieve political relevance got tagged with such an appropriately ridiculous moniker. The demented duo of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity have made me laugh for the first and probably only time.

It is getting a little old watching the more culturally conscious members of the media making fun of the clueless wingnuts, though. This is just too easy.

(via Sullivan)

Comments

  1. #1 Aquaria
    April 15, 2009

    I became aware of this movement when my car broke down and I had to spend an interminable time at the garage with Glenn Beck playing on a radio.

    I was like… You guys… You screamed about how unpatriotic it was to even criticize Bush, and then you protest and organize and in a way that is actually a threat to the government?

    Of course, it’s okay, when these sleazeballs criticize a President. You can’t do it.

    What’s good for me ain’t good for thee.

  2. #2 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 15, 2009

    No, I laughed at Glenn Beck crying on Fox but choosing Tea Bagging is a very special kind of funny.

  3. #3 Benny the Icepick
    April 15, 2009

    Oh my god, the innuendos in that clip are HILARIOUS. I can’t believe they got away with it!

  4. #4 Jadehawk
    April 15, 2009

    “up close and personal taste of teabagging”

    ROTFLMAO

  5. #5 Aquaria
    April 15, 2009

    Argh. Just woke up. It was supposed to be organizing in a way that’s an implicit threat to the government.

    These people are rather scary. They’re all the people who didn’t join the Army of God, Aryan Nation, Minutemen, black helicopter militia or other fringe nut crowd…only because they’d never heard of them.

  6. #6 Ahnald Brownshwagga the Monkey
    April 15, 2009

    LOL@ teabagging. The best is that these idiots can’t even define friggin socialism. Glenn Beck had the president of the Democratic Socialists of America on his TV show. The poor guy was not made for TV, as he was very inarticulate and nervous. But even he made Glenn Beck look like an idiot. Check it out on youtube, its hilarious.

    I love that their idea of protesting is to honk your horn three times hahaha. I hope they do that in sections of NYC where youre not allowed to honk, and they get fines.

  7. #7 Daniel
    April 15, 2009

    And the right wing want to give Obama a “tongue lashing” Oh, never mind…it IS too easy.

    To hear tea bagging discussed, um, in a different sense, look up the episode of “Sex and the City” called “A Woman’s Right to Shoes.”

  8. #8 blf
    April 15, 2009

    According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teabagging

    Teabagging is a slang term for the act of a man placing his scrotum in the mouth or on or around the face (including the top of the head) of another person?

    WTF? I cannot see this being a popular activity, even in the USA. Methinks there’s another meaning I’m missing??

  9. #9 jsoutofbiblepgs
    April 15, 2009

    No. No. It can’t be. It’s just toooooo funny. Tee hee!

  10. #10 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 15, 2009

    WTF? I cannot see this being a popular activity, even in the USA. Methinks there’s another meaning I’m missing??

    It’s not a popular activity beyond being used as an insult or joke.

  11. #11 Jadehawk
    April 15, 2009

    blf, the joke is that those idiots chose the term as a weird connection to the Boston Tea Party, and they’re completely unaware what it really means (which is the definition you found).

    so we’re making fun of them for being culturally oblivious. note also the ridiculous amount of sexual innuendo in the clip!

  12. #12 Glen Davidson
    April 15, 2009

    First as tragedy, then as farce, eh?

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  13. #13 ennui
    April 15, 2009

    Sheds new light on TruckNutz«.

  14. #14 Alex
    April 15, 2009

    So is it the tree-hugging dirt-worshippers versus the myth-following tea-baggers?

  15. #15 recovering catholic
    April 15, 2009

    Damn! Regarding the internet cyclicity on another recent thread here–I knew I’d looked up “teabagging” about a year ago!

  16. #16 James F
    April 15, 2009

    Balls.

    /Dr. Horrible

  17. #17 Celtic_Evolution
    April 15, 2009

    There is absolutely NO WAY I could have managed a straight face while giving that report… “going NUTS for it”… “strong tongue-lashing”… “tea-bagging in a nut-shell”… “Washington prostitute patron senator… issued statements in support of tea-bagging”.

    No… they would have had to have dragged me off the set curled up in a side-splitting ball. Whatever they are paying this guy, it’s not enough. Priceless.

  18. #18 firemancarl
    April 15, 2009

    All of the innuendo was made of 100%awesome! Tea bagging indeed! Just what the neocon fundie reps deserve!

    Notice how they all forgot that it is the Dubbya taxes that are in place, not Obamas and oh yeah. Socialism, they complain, but I don’t see them getting ready to tear up their medicade/medicare cards…

    things that make you go ‘Hmmmmmmm’

  19. #19 blf
    April 15, 2009

    Jadehawk, when I first watched the clip, not having the foggiest idea what anyone meant by the term, it made no sense at all. There were clearly digs at Faux News and a bunch of others, all apparently nutters, most/all of whom I didn’t recognize; and it was clear the nutters were planning some sort of protest allegedly about taxes but really about something else. But it was quite baffling.

    After finding that definition, on re-viewing I certainly got some of the innuendos. And it is still quite baffling.

    Living in France has it advantages. Whilst I’m still unclear what is going on over there on the wrong side of the pond, I suspect this is one of those things being here is really an advantage!

  20. #20 ennui
    April 15, 2009

    Oh noes–their protests have been tainted by MSM snark.

  21. #21 TechSkeptic
    April 15, 2009

    Dammit PZ, you beat me to it. Cracked me up when I started seeing news articles about teabagging.

  22. #22 Lana
    April 15, 2009

    Okay, I’m a middle-age, non-with-it, married for more than two decades lady and even I have heard the expression teabagging and havn’t been offended by it. But I must say I giggle just a little when the phrase is used by those would-be-tea-partiers.

  23. #23 Lana
    April 15, 2009

    Okay, I’m a middle-age, non-with-it, married for more than two decades lady and even I have heard the expression teabagging and havn’t been offended by it. But I must say I giggle just a little when the phrase is used by those would-be-tea-partiers.

  24. #24 Louis
    April 15, 2009

    This has to be a joke, right?

    The right wing/Republican/conservatives in the USA have called their organised “tea party” activities protesting some aspect of Democrat/liberal policy from the Obama administration “teabagging”? They did this themselves? This wasn’t some joke from Democrat/liberal media etc that has been thrust upon them?

    If so, this is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things I have ever read.

    It’s still funny if it’s an externally applied comment.

    Louis

  25. #25 Primewonk
    April 15, 2009

    Do these buttmunch’s not have minions who google this crap before they run with it? Heck it even made it to #2 on UrbanDictionary.com –

    1. n. A man that dips his scrotum and testicles into the mouth of another person. (as if dipping a tea bag into hot water)

    2. n. A conservative activist who is so ignorant that they protest against tax cuts (that benefit them) by throwing tea into a river.

  26. #26 JasonTD
    April 15, 2009

    Innuendos aside, the tax system is very messed up and is badly in need of reform and simplification. Is it possible for a post relating to politics here to be serious? (Cue Butthead – “Huh huh huh. Teabagging. Huh huh huh.”)

  27. #27 natural cynic
    April 15, 2009

    What’s interesting to me is that the Paulistas/Libertarians are pissed at the Repubs for taking over the movement. There was an interesting interview on Rachel Maddow last night with an Alabama Libertarian who laid out some of the history behind the movement and was definitely pissed about the wingnuts taking over, especially with kooks like Alan Keyes as a major speaker. [and in true Lib fashion he made Rachel do a double-take when he excoriated Keyes for dumping his lesbian daughter]

  28. #28 Mike in Ontario, NY
    April 15, 2009

    This is what conservatives deserve for refusing to do even a little bit of research or fact-checking.
    It reminds me of my mother’s idiot second husband, a deeply bigoted ultra-fundytard, who, when asked at a diner what he’d like to order for lunch, always responds “tube steak”. He thinks it means hot dogs, and I’ll be DAMNED if I try to correct him. I take great pleasure in seeing how the waitresses react!

  29. #29 Aquaria
    April 15, 2009

    You know, the point of noting that one has jumped the shark is to provide a hint that something has outlived its usefulness, so give up and go away once and for all.

    But these guys keep finding new sharks to jump.

  30. #30 Mena
    April 15, 2009

    I went to the teabagging in Lisle, IL just to see how many people showed up. I didn’t stop and I had camera issues (I checked the damn battery before I left, stupid piece of technology…) and I was trying to navigate a traffic jam so I only ended up with two decent pictures:
    http://s72.photobucket.com/albums/i191/shegeek1000101/Lisle%20Teabagging/
    It looked to me like there may have been 100-200 people, and this area has probably half a million within a half hour drive, mainly from Naperville.
    There were a couple “Start the Revolution” signs, some about pork and wasteful spending, and something about “Excuse me while I take(?) Pelosi”. Not sure what was going on with that, the guy was sideways and part of the sign was covered. I kept the window open and heard what they were talking about. Apparently the US is the greatest nation in the world, with the most freedom and this highest standard of living. It’s also good to have stuff. That’s almost a direct quote. Apparently having a brain is optional, stuff is necessary. Apparently charity and sharing aren’t Christian ideals (Wheaton is 10 minutes away and I suspect that that’s where most of the people came from), that’s for those damn fascist socialists!

  31. #31 Ahnald Brownshwagga the Monkey
    April 15, 2009

    I counted 9 pieces of innuendo.

  32. #32 Mena
    April 15, 2009

    By the way, Keith Olbermann was hilarious last night, even using the term “half cocked”:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#30217505

  33. #33 Chayanov
    April 15, 2009

    This is just nuts. Why are they being so testy about it? They need to suck it up like everyone else.

  34. #34 Phaedron
    April 15, 2009

    “I counted 9 pieces of innuendo.”

    Leaves a weird taste in your mouth, doesn’t it?

  35. #35 redstripe
    April 15, 2009

    My vote for best innuendo is the “tight-lipped” reference.

  36. #36 TheNewAtheist
    April 15, 2009

    I find it hilarious and ironic that the sexually suppressed right would choose to hang their political hat on teabagging. For people so concerned with that others do in their bedroom, I would have thought that teabagging was too kinky for the bible to allow. Heres hoping Glenn and Sean get all the teabags they have coming to them. Happy Tax Day!

    http://www.TheNewAtheist.com

  37. #37 blf
    April 15, 2009

    [T]hese guys keep finding new sharks to jump.

    The world is round. So, eventually, if they keep going, they’ll wind up back to the point when they can feed everyone else to the sharks. Of course, the world’s also BIG. It’s gonna take a lot of shark-jumping to circumnavigate…

  38. #38 Newfie
    April 15, 2009

    By the way, Keith Olbermann was hilarious last night, even using the term “half cocked”:

    Rachel Maddow has been doling out the innuendo the last few nights as well.. very funny stuff.

  39. #39 daveau
    April 15, 2009

    They started out with “teabagging”, but in typical doublethink (we have always been at war with Eastasia) switched it to “teapartying” a couple of days ago, after finally catching on to what everybody else was laughing about. But it was way to late to stop the momentum.

    Morons.

  40. #41 Ray Mills
    April 15, 2009

    Ahhh a lovely bit of astroturfing by fox news. Primework, I have reason to suspect that the post for fox news fact checker has never been filled.

  41. #42 'Tis Himself
    April 15, 2009

    So taking a teabag that’s already been bought and paid for and then tossing it in a body of water symbolizes dismay that the president and congress are trying to reduce most peoples’ taxes and raising taxes on those best able to afford higher taxes.

  42. #43 Ahnald Brownshwagga the Monkey
    April 15, 2009

    wow i was off…i got 13 on a re-watch

  43. #44 ennui
    April 15, 2009

    Leave it to PZ to go after the low-hanging fruit.

  44. #45 MScott
    April 15, 2009

    That segment is just chock-full of interesting information.

    Plus or minus an “H”…

  45. #46 Aquaria
    April 15, 2009

    100-200 people, Mena?

    :::Snicker:::

    Oh that’s too funny. I went to one of the “small” anti-war protests in San Antonio, and we easily had more than that in attendance. Enough to pack a section of a park. In Military City, USA.

  46. #47 Dr.Woody
    April 15, 2009

    A Dick Armey needs Pussy Galore, nest paw/

  47. #48 Somnolent Aphid
    April 15, 2009

    Unilever, which owns the Lipton brand, is up 4.38% today.

  48. #49 blf
    April 15, 2009

    I have reason to suspect that the post for fox news fact checker has never been filledcreated.

    Fixed.

  49. #50 ZK
    April 15, 2009

    Teabagging, as a form of political protestation?

    Er… now I think I’ve heard it all.

    C|N>M :-)

    (C is for cider in this case).

    Perhaps the neocons can adopt some other “political” practices such as felching, frotting, fisting, and release their treatises on A grade media, called DVDA?

    Tee hee.

  50. #51 Dr.Woody
    April 15, 2009

    It’s also good to have stuff. That’s almost a direct quote.

    As the sainted and lamented George Carlin remarked: My shit’s ‘stuff,’ but your stuff’s ‘shit.’

  51. #52 hje
    April 15, 2009

    Just another attempt by wingnuts at election nullification. Largely harmless, but hard core true believers do worry me, especially after the FBI report yesterday about right wing extremists.

  52. #54 Aquaria
    April 15, 2009

    Perhaps the neocons can adopt some other “political” practices such as felching, frotting, fisting, and release their treatises on A grade media, called DVDA?

    This won’t be complete until Santorum shows up.

  53. #55 Spyderkl
    April 15, 2009

    Teabagging? That’s a rather personal question, isn’t it? I mean, I don’t know most of you guys well enough….

    Oh. I see. That’s something different – never mind.

    As I told somebody this morning (I had to explain what the protests were about to her), it’s Comedy Gold, no matter how much the wingnuts try to call it something else now.

  54. #56 JB
    April 15, 2009

    “…if you are planning simultaneous teabagging all around the country, you’re gonna need a dick army.”

    I almost lost it at this line!

  55. #57 daveau
    April 15, 2009

    No tax reductions with representation!

    I heard that someone threw a box full of teabags over the whitehouse fence, and they locked the place down and had a bomb squad check it out.

    I repeat: Morons!

  56. #58 cpsmith
    April 15, 2009

    I counted about 13 or 14 pieces of innuendo, but it is kind of hard to keep track since some of them run into each other and it is hard to tell where one piece of innuendo begins and another ends (like when he is talking about the million man march at the end there =D ).

  57. #59 MAJeff, OM
    April 15, 2009

    WTF? I cannot see this being a popular activity, even in the USA

    What a sad failure of imagination.

  58. #60 Corey S
    April 15, 2009

    I watched a brief discussion on these “tea parties” on CBC Newsworld. It seems that this will be forgotten by next week as there were not many people there.

  59. #61 ennui
    April 15, 2009

    It gets so old–these crabby conservatives foaming at the mouth with their constant comments about ‘socialism’ steeped in vinegary fear. But there’s no teeth to their fuzzy logic.

    *gets coat*

  60. #62 AJ Milne
    April 15, 2009

    I would hereby like to lodge a formal protest, as a member of the Satirizing Wiseasses Local #156, that Beck and Co. are now cutting out the middleman and satirizing themselves

    I’m pretty sure that’s a violation of the collective agreement. In principle, at least… Cut it out, ya scabs!

  61. #63 Jamiej831
    April 15, 2009

    @Primewonk

    Heck it even made it to #2 on UrbanDictionary.com

    According to Greg Laden, it the term actually hit #1! Greg posted on this afew days ago also, there’s a link also in the comments to the HuffPo article with a Rachel Maddow clips that’s pretty funny too (although I am not a fan of the HuffPo).

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2009/04/why_is_teabagging_the_number_o.php

  62. #64 Mena
    April 15, 2009

    Aquaria, they probably had more in Chicago due to the larger population, but it’s also possible that due to the political makeup there wouldn’t be as many. People in Chicago may also know what teabagging means…

  63. #65 Aquaria
    April 15, 2009

    Does anyone remember the sad Free Republican anti-protest protests?

    Conservatives, you just don’t get it. When people protest it’s always against the status quo–i.e., “The Man.” You’re the man. Only in dictatorships do people protest for the man (and usually under duress).

  64. #66 Ouchimoo
    April 15, 2009

    LOL, I watched this over lunch with my other half. We didn’t know what to expect but by the end of it we were rolling holding our guts in laughter. Funnier still that we have a social gathering every Sunday and we have this flipping Neo-CON atheist show up every single time. I can’t stand the f#ck and I know I’m not alone but I don’t think he has any other social life because he keeps showing up! Anyways, so two Sundays ago he was talking about how he was all excited about that little tea party rally and up coming ones and saying how the “liberal media” is trying to stifle it and bla bla bla. Which then he told me that CNN is a far left media plug. Ugg! Anyways how interesting it would be to ask him how his ‘tea bagging’ went this Sunday. Also a couple groups are asking for people to show up and give reports, video/pics and accounts. (If you can stand to be around those people >< ) I'll give this link because it's funny: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/08/cavuto-tea-party-protests_n_184591.html

  65. #67 Heaventree
    April 15, 2009

    I agree with all of you that the teabag innuendo is a scream. Teabag Day a purely made-for-Fox-TV event. The protests that preceded the Iraq war were genuinely grassroots, and they were among the largest in American history. Not that anyone would have know that from the right-wing corporate media.

  66. #68 Jim
    April 15, 2009

    Sometimes journalism is hilarious.

  67. #69 Stobrawa
    April 15, 2009

    It’s sad that you would try to marginalize a colossal waste of money, supporting the theft of the future of your children, simply because you all have some kind of anti-Bush chip on your shoulders.

    Bush spent billions of taxpayer cash on something you disagreed with. You cried foul amidst the majority of the media calling you unpatriotic for not unquestioningly supporting your country. Good for you.

    Today we see a new administration continuing to print and spend money like it’s air. Where is your righteous indignation now? Oh, right, you’ve been told that somehow this will only hurt the evil rich and corporations which you’ve also been trained to hate.

    Why can’t you see that, at its essence, the Boston tea party was one key element toward a growing American Revolution over the issue of unjust taxation. Today’s demonstrations should embody that for all of us Americans.

    If you have a problem with the right-wing zealots, then you should get out there and try to set them straight. That we’re united against a top-down, central-planned, aggressive theft of your hard-earned income by the massive federal government.

    I love this blog, but I find it disheartening that a set of people who can see bottom-up self-organization of competing biological systems into incredibly complex and parsimonious organisms would be so incredibly blinded to the simple fact that those same principles of bottom-up self-organization apply to complex structures like our economy and livelihood.

    Claiming that the federal central planners are best at taking your money and divvying it up in a top-down central-planned fashion is just as much of a religious dogma as the god zealots.

    You should all be ashamed of yourselves for your unwillingness to apply your evolutionary principles to a subject that makes you uncomfortable, while snarlingly standing back and taking pot-shots at the religious for doing the same. You cling to your God Of Government with unblinking reverence in a manner similar to a young-earth creationist.

    In case you didn’t get the gist, I’m saying that talking to the zealotous-left about the economy is just as frustrating as talking to the zealotous-right about evolution.

    Grow up. Both systems are evolutionary and best described bottom-up and self-organizing.

    Now get out there and remind those fundies that this, too, is about an evolutionary issue.

  68. #70 Jenny
    April 15, 2009

    I’m no fan of Glenn Beck (whining Mormon cultist pansy) nor of Sean Hannity (he’s just a schmuck in general). I’m not even all that big on the Republican party. However, I am in favor of the Tea Party movement (in spite of the unfortunate “teabagging” moniker).

    Our government is printing trillions of dollars in fiat money and handing it out to failing corporations. Citibank, GM, Chrysler, AIG, etc. are businesses failing not because of circumstances beyond their control, but because of their own incompetence and tragically poor business decisions.

    Do you think it strange for Americans to protest Our Beloved Leader handing our, our children’s, and our grandchildren’s futures over to incompetent businessmen (and women) who should simply be allowed to fail? Why should we reward failure? Why should we engage in Obamanomics, which privatizes profits in the hands of a few while socializing losses on the backs of the middle class?

    Do you think it silly to be against this?

    I just got back from the Tea Party in Salem, Oregon (state capital). There were easily 3,000 people there, one of the largest rallies on the Capitol steps in a long time. Yet I found it disappointing; why? The speakers were all politicians, including one Republican announcing his upcoming run for Governor. They ignored the national issues we came out to protest.

    I hope the Chicago Tea Party went better. They refused speaking time to any elected official, including Michael Steele, chair of the RNC.

    Stobrawa, well said!

  69. #71 blueelm
    April 15, 2009

    LMAO! This is like something that would have happened on Southpark. Leave it to the party of repression to come up with teabagging as an act of political protest!

  70. #72 Postman
    April 15, 2009

    I see that a few people here are for the national day of teabagging. If you take a look here, http://deusexeverriculum.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/dear-fox-news/ you’ll see that you’re in fine company. gawd agrees with you.*

    *Full Disclosure: It’s my own blog… well, Gawd’s blog, but I am His Postman.

  71. #73 MrFire
    April 15, 2009

    Epic, epic FAIL on every level.

  72. #74 Ouchimoo
    April 15, 2009

    Today we see a new administration continuing to print and spend money like it’s air. Where is your righteous indignation now? Oh, right, you’ve been told that somehow this will only hurt the evil rich and corporations which you’ve also been trained to hate.

    Um no. I don’t like this new administration continuing to print money and spend it like it’s air. However, a lot of money that was dished out was with the goal to help bottom-up growth. Just because we laugh at the right attempting to grasp at straws of their failed policies doesn’t mean we are giving the Obama Admin a free pass. Please don’t pretend to know what is on our minds and then chastise us for your mistaken misconception.

  73. #75 Marcus J. Ranum
    April 15, 2009

    I love this blog, but I find it disheartening that a set of people who can see bottom-up self-organization of competing biological systems into incredibly complex and parsimonious organisms would be so incredibly blinded to the simple…

    I’m a nihilist; I chuckle that you think it matters.

  74. #76 blueelm
    April 15, 2009

    I have trouble trusting the intelligence, ability to plan, and ability to navigate our economy of any person or persons who are not clever enough to google the name they intend on using to describe their political movement so as to make sure it isn’t… say… a pretty well known sex act.

  75. #77 PleiadeanX
    April 15, 2009

    Allegedly sighted at a Seattle gathering a sign reads:

    “I shaved my balls for this?”

  76. #78 Guy Incognito
    April 15, 2009

    …who should simply be allowed to fail? Why should we reward failure? Why should we engage in Obamanomics, which privatizes profits in the hands of a few while socializing losses on the backs of the middle class?

    But doesn’t a pretty big chunk of the middle class work for those businesses you want to send down the crapper?

  77. #79 lgrf4evr
    April 15, 2009

    I sadden me that many conservative law makers decided to ?pull out? of the protesting, instead of ?firmly? supporting them. They should have remained deep throat about their opposition to an ?uprising? of taxes on the 2%.

    I guess there is nothing ?Boehner? about it because many of the GOP senators makes less then 250,000 a year. But then again, if the GOP senators did protest, they either have to ?cover? their ?head? with a white hood or be bold, and go ?bareback? to show their moral opposition.

    Some one should keep an eye on the ?backdoor? because many senators would sneak out through there instead of ?cumming? through the front door.

  78. #80 Jadehawk
    April 15, 2009

    #69

    yay for libertarian threadjacking and Social Darwinism! [/sarcasm]

  79. #81 'Tis Himself
    April 15, 2009

    Stobrawa #69

    Today we see a new administration continuing to print and spend money like it’s air. Where is your righteous indignation now? Oh, right, you’ve been told that somehow this will only hurt the evil rich and corporations which you’ve also been trained to hate.

    Jenny #70

    Our government is printing trillions of dollars in fiat money and handing it out to failing corporations.

    Have either of you heard of Keynesian economics or activist stabilization policy?

    To put it very simply and simplistically, Keynes’ economic theory was based on an circular flow of money. One person’s spending goes towards another’s earnings, and when that person spends her earnings she is, in effect, supporting another’s earnings. This circle continues on and helps support a normal functioning economy. When the Great Depression hit, people’s natural reaction was to hoard their money. However, under Keynes’ theory this stopped the circular flow of money, keeping the economy at a standstill.

    Keynes’ solution to this poor economic state was to prime the pump. By prime the pump, Keynes argued that the government should step in to increase spending, either by increasing the money supply or by actually buying things on the market itself. This pump priming is called activist stabilization policy. And despite what you may have heard on Fox News, it worked during the Great Depression.

  80. #82 The Petey
    April 15, 2009

    I have no idea why you don’t think teabagging is a popular activity?

  81. #83 Tulse
    April 15, 2009

    we see a new administration continuing to print and spend money like it’s air. Where is your righteous indignation now?

    Where the hell was yours when Bush oversaw one of the largest increases in the Federal government since, well, ever? The rank hypocrisy of this “movement” would be laughable if it weren’t so appalling.

    The US is currently in a major financial crisis. I have not seen the teabaggers offer any real, substantive alternative to the stimulus, at least not one that any reputable economists would support. These protests are nothing but free-floating anger at having lost the election. Suck it up, cupcake, and let the adults try to avert immediate calamity.

  82. #84 Heaventree
    April 15, 2009

    Good job, ‘Tis Himself. I was afraid we were gearing up for Stobrawa’s inevitable citation to Atlas Shrugged. Best to stop all that in its tracks.

  83. #85 anthonzi
    April 15, 2009

    As good a day as any to get your balls sucked I guess…

  84. #86 lgrf4evr
    April 15, 2009

    Hey PZ, check out this news report. Some elderly couples were trick out of their life saving fund be their church elders into investing in a hedge fund.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/15/sec-suing-church-bought-c_n_187286.html

  85. #87 Jeff F.
    April 15, 2009

    Mena #30,
    I’m sure you’re right about it being Wheaton conservatives.

    I’m next-door in Bolingbrook, and I’m sorry I missed the fun.

  86. #88 Susan Silberstein
    April 15, 2009

    AFAICT, my city, the fifth largest in California, doesn’t even have one scheduled. I thought about observing the nearest event in Seal Beach, but my brother pointed out that I don’t want to be inadvertently counted as one of the mob. Their Facebook page claims 400-500 people were there. Don’t know who counted or how.

  87. #89 kd1s
    April 15, 2009

    I went to get pix of the crazies. Plenty there today, you had anti-socialist, anti-immigrant. Probably an anti-gay or two but didn’t catch them.

    See the link.

    These people are being seriously mislead. I agree we aren’t being represented. I disagree as to the cause. The information is out there, it’s just that the people in the Teabagging protest can’t make the cognitive jump and figure out that unfettered corporate power isn’t good.

  88. #90 george.w
    April 15, 2009

    Funniest quote of the day, I think:

    “It’s hard to talk when you’re teabagging.”

    Well, I would think so.

  89. #91 Mena
    April 15, 2009

    Does anyone else find it ironic that, in a thread about teabagging, the sock puppetry starts at comment #69?
    Jeff F, I didn’t stay but it looked and sounded like you would have expected it to. There’s nothing that these people have that isn’t a memorized sound bite. Oh, and they brought flags. Lots and lots of flags. What “patriots”!

  90. #92 ryoga
    April 15, 2009

    “Today we see a new administration continuing to print and spend money like it’s air. Where is your righteous indignation now?”

    The same place where I keep the lost value in my home, 401K, etc. etc.

    Oh, I understand the anger these folks feel towards the massive deficits we have been and will be racking up. I do. I celebrated the surplus we racked up under Clinton more than anything.

    But, in case you have not noticed, we currently have 8.5% unemployment. We are on track to have 10% unemployment by the end of this year and this may rise even higher and is expected to continue for some time. Added to this is a crises in lending due to banks horrendous mismanagement and investment fraud that turned liars loans into AAA rated securities worth trillion.

    Now, the government’s usual method of priming the a recession economy, lowering interest rates, is ineffective because they are as low as they can possibly go and nothing good is happening. We are, economically speaking, fucked.

    And we got in this position because we listened to a decades worth of conservative free-marketers who slashed government oversight of the banks and spent borrowed money on a war we did not need.

    But, let’s put that aside. Because we are economically fucked, we have a couple choices. The two main ones being A) have massive government spending in hopes of turning the economy around, as advocated by Obama and the Democrats or B) pretend the economy is not fucked, that having 10% unemployment is no big deal and do nothing different than we’ve done in the last couple of years.

    Now, we know plan A works because it was the massive government spending (Borrowed, mind you) associated with World War II that ended the Great Depression. Plan B, on the other hand, well…good luck with that.

    Listen, Obama is NOT a socialist. Obama DOES NOT want to run up trillion dollar deficits, Obama DOES NOT want to give taxpayer bailouts to the douche-bags that ran AIG, Citi, GM and all the rest. He’s doing it because according to very reasonable people who are informed on economic matters it is the only to avoid a Second Great Depression. Think about that.

    And, finally, (hears applause from the Gallery), much of the stimulus spending in the budget will not be actually spent until next year and later. If the economy turns around quicker, and we find that we do not need such massive stimulus spending, Obama and the Congress can go back and CUT the proposed spending. Which they will, because, again, Obama is NOT a socialist, he does Not want a $ Trillion deficit, and he does NOT want to give taxpayers money to the douche-bags that caused this shit in the first place.

  91. #93 Menyambal
    April 15, 2009

    I like how conservatives accuse people of hating Bush Junior, or having a chip on their shoulders, or some damn irrational thing against him. Conservatives are the folks who hated Clinton–hated him–the lower-class Republicans for being a good old boy from Arkansas who wasn’t a conservative, the rich Republicans for being a good old boy from Arkansas. I, for one, dislike Bush because he was not elected by the people, and he ran this country like he was a paranoid god–I had reasons to hate him, but only got to dislike.

    I also like how conservatives now say that certain big businesses are run by incompetents. For the last few decades, they’ve been telling us that businessmen should be running America, and doing their damnedest to make that happen.

    So now they have an Astroturf movement to drop teabags in a bucket. It is to laugh! They should use loose tea and drop it in a body of water, for continuity’s sake. And they should protest something real, not something their ignorant pack leaders told them to protest.

    I hope they choke on their teabagging.

  92. #94 Africangenesis
    April 15, 2009

    MSNBC mocks illiteracy about non-reproductive allegedly “sexual” practices, while ignoring the far more important economic literacy. Wasn’t it Bill Clinton that questioned whether non-reproductive practices were really “sex”?

    The government financed the economic bubble with a money supply built upon an unstable pyramid of leverage and a Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) distortion of the housing market, and when the bubble bursts, and deleveraging destroys trillions of dollars of money supply (try that with a real currency), the government is too stupid to print replacement money and let the people pick the winners and losers.

    As Ben Franklin said, he who lives on hope, will die fasting.

    We are going to have to get ourselves out of this recession, obviously the government is incompetent and worse, is mortgaging our future with a shell game of “stimulous” and “bailout”. Drain (borrow) from one part of the economy and dump into unproductive activities in another part. The conservatives opposed the corporate bailouts from the beginning (the TARP) and the liberal fascists have leaped into control of their corporatist nirvana. Not that the conservatives have had brilliant ideas, but at least they appear more likely to have taken an economics or business course at university.

  93. #95 Schauzermom
    April 15, 2009

    I would like to propose the Million Douchebag Day. Show up at the Fox News HQ and dump a million douche bags at their doorstep.

  94. #96 twincats
    April 15, 2009

    This is one of the best threads since PZ got kicked out of the “Expelled” premier!

    Nope, not sending or sponsoring a teabag to D.C.

    But I do have a craving for a cuppa Lipton right about now!

  95. #97 cicely
    April 15, 2009

    Ouchimoo @ 66:

    Anyways, so two Sundays ago he was talking about how he was all excited about that little tea party rally and up coming ones and saying how the “liberal media” is trying to stifle it and bla bla bla.

    No…no, I’d say that the “liberal media” is way too busy hooting and ROFLing to try to “stifle” it.

  96. #98 Aquaria
    April 15, 2009

    Oh, look, it’s AG the Forest Gump of Libertarian thought.

    Did this wanker actually survive Survivor:Pharyngula?

  97. #99 Jamiej831
    April 15, 2009

    [A]nd the liberal fascists have leaped into control of their corporatist nirvana

    Knew someone would have to invoke Godwin’s (or at leased close)

  98. #100 Darren Garrison
    April 15, 2009

    #87 “I’m sure you’re right about it being Wheaton conservatives.”

    Wait, what? Are you saying that the conservatives want to teabag Wesley Crusher? (Hm– that seems to violate Internet Rule #34.)

  99. #101 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 15, 2009

    Did this wanker actually survive Survivor:Pharyngula?

    Yes, he hasn’t figured out that the less he says, the better. But like all libertardians and other True BelieversTM, the concept of not saying anything is repugnant, as we must be “edjowkatdid”.

  100. #102 tsig
    April 15, 2009

    The mental image of thousands of withered old nutsacks dangling above thousands of gaping toothless mouths is searing.

  101. #103 Zar
    April 15, 2009

    #69, 70, etc.

    Uh, guys? Remember how the first round of bailouts happened back in late 2008/early 2009, BEFORE Obama took office? And that Bush approved the bailout plans? Do you? Do you realize that, given this, it is incredibly stupid to lay the blame for all this solely at the feet of the current administration? You do at least remember that the economy shit the bed before Barack came into office, right? Right? Please?

    Hey, do you remember when we were at war with Eastasia a couple of months back?

  102. #104 GaryB, FCD
    April 15, 2009

    How did policies enabled and supported by Bush suddenly become Obama’s fault?

    How much money was spent on the Iraq war, and how big was Bush’s bailout?

    Weren’t Fannie and Freddie in trouble before Obama was elected? Wasn’t it Bush that tried the deregulation route?

    Who should have been aware of the dishonesty and greed, the existing policy makers or future policy makers?

  103. #105 'Tis Himself
    April 15, 2009

    I took a peek and reaffirmed that killfiling AG a long time ago was a wise decision on my part.

  104. #106 daveau
    April 15, 2009

    #103

    No, we have always been at war with Eurasia.

  105. #107 Jenny
    April 15, 2009

    Himself, #81,

    “Have either of you heard of Keynesian economics or activist stabilization policy?”

    Have you ever heard of Austrian school economics?

    http://www.mises.org. Learn something new.

    Ryoga, #92:

    “But, let’s put that aside. Because we are economically fucked, we have a couple choices. The two main ones being A) have massive government spending in hopes of turning the economy around, as advocated by Obama and the Democrats or B) pretend the economy is not fucked, that having 10% unemployment is no big deal and do nothing different than we’ve done in the last couple of years.”
    Massive government spending began with the Bush administration. The first stimulus bill wasn’t Obama’s. Obama is doing nothing new, he’s just taking it far further.

    What it boils down to is deciding whether we want a capitalist nation or a corporatist nation. Obama is pushing for governmental control over the financial and industrial sectors, including government ownership in failing businesses followed by government operation of those businesses. That’s corporatism.

    If we want to be corporatist instead of capitalist, that’s fine and dandy; but let’s be honest about what we’re doing. We are no longer a capitalist nation. We no longer reward performance; instead, we reward failure. We let everyone “share the pain”, while the favored few get to receive their “performance” bonuses in spite of their gross incompetence.

    Is that what you want America to be? Land of the losers?

    Ryoga, I would never suggest we “not do anything different than we have the last couple of years”. We have been moving further from capitalism for decades. Obama is taking full advantage of the current recession to reshape our economy into corporatism.

    Someone is bound to say, “OK, then, what would YOU do?”

    Well, here ya go:

    No bailouts for GM, Chrysler, AIG, etc. Let them collapse.

    Extended unemployment benefits.

    Bring back the WPA and CCC. Put people to work doing work, by hand.

    Provide severe penalties for those providing jobs to illegal immigrants — frees up about 12M jobs that Americans will be hungry to take.

    Legalize marijuana, ecstasy, and other non-physically-addictive drugs and tax them. Release the offenders (incarcerated at $60K/year/inmate of our tax dollars) and put those funds to work keeping people fed and clothed and housed.

    Want to print money and spend it somewhere? OK! How about interest-free business loans to startups? How about more infrastructure projects? How about tax credits to existing employers who create new, family-wage jobs (not a bunch of part-time, no-benefits McJobs)?

    Nobody is saying we shouldn’t do something to fix the economy, but we are saying that spending trillions of dollars that don’t exist to prop up businesses run by incompetents isn’t the way to do it.

  106. #108 Natalie
    April 15, 2009

    Jenny:

    Do you think it strange for Americans to protest Our Beloved Leader handing our, our children’s, and our grandchildren’s futures over to incompetent businessmen (and women) who should simply be allowed to fail? Why should we reward failure? Why should we engage in Obamanomics, which privatizes profits in the hands of a few while socializing losses on the backs of the middle class?

    Need I remind you that TARP and the bailouts were started in 2008, while Bush was still president?

    I’ve seen cognitive dissonance before, but this is the first time in my life that I have watched it happen before my eyes. It’s scary. I don’t understand how you can forget something that happened mere months ago.

    Or are you just a liar?

  107. #109 Aquaria
    April 15, 2009

    the tax system is very messed up and is badly in need of reform and simplification.

    And the solution is simple: Tax the ones who can most afford to pay.

    They get the most benefits out of the government anyway, contrary to what the average freeper thinks.

  108. #110 Aquaria
    April 15, 2009

    . We have been moving further from capitalism for decades. Obama is taking full advantage of the current recession to reshape our economy into corporatism.

    You are a blithering fucking moron.

    Corporatism is capitalism. It’s the market deciding how to handle business for maximum profit.

    And we have been moving closer to the “market cures all” nonsense ever since your moron, Ronald Reagan convinced hard-working Americans that they would be better off handing over the fruits of their labors to the moneyed classes.

  109. #111 'Tis Himself
    April 15, 2009

    Jenny #107

    Have you ever heard of Austrian school economics?
    Learn something new.

    Nothing new to me, but then I happen to be an economist.

    Just for your information, the Austrian School is considered to be a fringe group by the majority of economists. Bryan Caplan’s essay Why I Am Not an Austrian Economist will give you several good reasons why this view is commonly held.

  110. #112 'Tis Himself
    April 15, 2009

    Having read the rest of her screed in post #107, I see that Jenny is a libertarian. Henceforth I won’t bother to respond to her.

  111. #113 JasonTD
    April 15, 2009

    Natalie @ #108,

    Need I remind you that TARP and the bailouts were started in 2008, while Bush was still president?

    And Democrats controlled congress, voting for it with a 172-63 margin in the House and 39-9 in the Senate. And yes, Obama and McCain both voted for TARP. (Republicans were 91-108 and 35-15, respectively.) It seems that much of the country forgot who was in Congress for the prior 2 years when election day came around.

  112. #114 Mena
    April 15, 2009

    Darren Garrison @100 FTW!
    By the way, here’s really all anyone needs to know about Wheaton:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheaton,_Illinois#Religion
    That and they are so full of themselves as to be unbearable. It has gotten to the point where whenever my sister or I get cut off by a huge car or SUV we look for the Jesus fish. It’s almost always there. People there also seem to like to cut in line at stores and act like they were there before the next person. I have been all over the country and I have never seen it as bad as it is here, but what else can happen when you have a bunch of people who treat religion and patriotism as competitive sports?

  113. #115 ryoga
    April 15, 2009

    Jenny, you have many good ideas, but they are not shared by ANY of the people out their Tea-Bagging because your ideas (except for drug legalization) would raise their taxes. (This statement contains broad generalization, use at your discretion.)

    And, I’m sorry, this:

    “Obama is pushing for governmental control over the financial and industrial sectors, including government ownership in failing businesses followed by government operation of those businesses. That’s corporatism.”

    is nonsense.

    Obama DOES NOT want to TAKE OVER any failing businesses. He doesn’t. They’ve came to him, asking for bail-outs, and, following the best advise he received, he has agreed, in order to stem the gushing wound of unemployment. We lost 700,000 jobs last month. And 600,000 the two months previous. And a million more last year. He’s following the best advise available to him. You cannot actually believe that Obama wants to spend the first four years of his presidency taking over and running failing companies. It’s insane. He would love, as would almost all Liberals, to see these companies go out of business, if it meant that their failures would not turn the shit we find ourselves in deeper.

    And, yes, he’s in favor of regulation on the financial industries, because every responsible economic and business-oriented individual understands that you CANNOT run a modern economy without EXTENSIVE government oversight. You can not do it. The stock market would collapse without stock-holders knowing that their is SOME oversight over businesses and their stock offerings and financial disclosures. And lack of oversight is the reason we allowed Liars Loans to become Triple AA-rated securities and caused this problem in the first place.

  114. #116 raven
    April 15, 2009

    The Teabagging protest is being run by the same people who caused the problems that made it necessary. The neofascists and christofascist wingnuts. The Bushco supporters.

    Here are some facts.

    1. Bill Clinton left this country with 8 years of notable economic growth and ….a budget surplus. Repeat, a budget surplus.

    2. After 8 years of Bush’s incompetent nonleadership, the economy was dying, started in Fall, 2007. Bush’s don’t tax, but spend wildly nearly doubled the national debt, another $5 trillion added to it.

    3. Obama was handed an economy that was road kill and told, revive it. Whether he can remains to be seen, no one doubts it is dead, just whether it is resurrectable and how.

    I’m no fan of huge deficit spending either, this is what got us into the mess. And I would have just let the Cthulhu-damned banks fail. It would hurt, it would clear out the dead wood, and then we start over with a clear road ahead.

    Everyone knows what the problem is. Everyone except the usual delusional Theothuglican morons knows exactly who caused it. The Teabaggers were part of the problem so they have zero credibility solving it.

    Where in the hell were they during the 8 years of the Bush administration? Probably trying to cram creationism into little kid’s heads in school, watching someone else’s kids and friends come home in boxes from Iraq, and bombing family planning clinics.

  115. #117 Bobber
    April 15, 2009

    No bailouts for GM, Chrysler, AIG, etc. Let them collapse.

    Sending tens of thousands into unemployment immediately, and several tens of thousands more as the ripple effect extends throughout the economy. Not an option.

    Extended unemployment benefits.

    And the money for these benefits is coming from…? I hope you’re not against even more borrowing.

    Bring back the WPA and CCC. Put people to work doing work, by hand.

    See above. Plus, we are no longer a nation of majority industrial, agricultural, or construction workers, as we were in the 1930s; most of us are now in services and office work. I was a teacher; now you want me – 41 years old, out of shape, suffering from high blood pressure – to build a bridge. Good luck.

    Provide severe penalties for those providing jobs to illegal immigrants — frees up about 12M jobs that Americans will be hungry to take.

    Again, see above – and good luck getting that passed through Congress.

    Legalize marijuana, ecstasy, and other non-physically-addictive drugs and tax them. Release the offenders (incarcerated at $60K/year/inmate of our tax dollars) and put those funds to work keeping people fed and clothed and housed.

    This is easy; again, see above. You will have to fight not just Congress but a large proportion of the criminal justice “industry” – including judges put into power by conservatives. You are asking for a paradigm shift in people’s perceptions; that won’t come quickly, and we need solutions NOW.

    Want to print money and spend it somewhere? OK! How about interest-free business loans to startups?

    Enjoy trying to get the banks – for profit private entities – to agree, unless you want the federal government to directly make these loans – which doesn’t sound very “market economy” to me. But hey, I agree with you here.

    How about more infrastructure projects?

    Money comes from…?

    How about tax credits to existing employers who create new, family-wage jobs (not a bunch of part-time, no-benefits McJobs)?

    Oh dear. Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the United States, and their influence is felt throughout the nation. Again, FAT CHANCE getting that through Congress.

    Pie-in-the-sky thinking is fine and dandy, but as I said above, we need solutions NOW. Am I all for revolution and social justice? Damn right I am. But your ideas will lead to far more suffering in the short term, and people are already becoming frustrated to the point of violence. Unless violent revolution is your intent

  116. #118 Marcus J. Ranum
    April 15, 2009

    Bobber – the problem with blaming everything on the previous administration is that we wind up vacillating around the main and there’s no good argument that the mean is any better. “pie in the sky” thinking is not a fair motto if you, too, are pointing at past skies.

  117. #119 Treespeed
    April 15, 2009

    Quote from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,
    “And then you say, what a lovely tea party.”
    How prescient is Kevin Smith?

  118. #120 Bobber
    April 15, 2009

    Marcus J. Ranum:

    I myself would never place *all* blame for the current economic crisis on the Bush regime. There’s plenty of blame to go around – some of it having nothing to do with the government, but rather with the consumerist culture of the U.S. that lulls many citizens into a sense of empty, self-satisfied slumber while their individual and social rights are being eroded piece-meal. It’s more a matter of choosing which side is more likely to come up with a plan that might cause the least harm, and even solve some problems, rather than throw out ideas that have been tried and that we know do not work.

  119. #121 RobertDW
    April 15, 2009

    WTF? I cannot see this being a popular activity, even in the USA. Methinks there’s another meaning I’m missing??

    In online first-person gaming, such as first-person shooters and MMORPGs like WoW, it’s not uncommon to see people express their disdain for the enemy by going up to the corpse and sitting on it. This is meant to simulate teabagging, and the victim, still viewing from the PoV of their corpse, just a nice close look at a simulated set of pants.

    This practice of simulated teabagging as an insult is probably significantly more widespread than the actual practice.

    As to why this is done: check this web comic

  120. #122 firemancarl
    April 15, 2009

    Wow, I see the douchebaggery level has sky rocketed here.

    I am amazed at the attempt to shift blame to the Dems. So, the Dems may have had a small majority in congress, but they could get nothing accomplished until this past election.

    The bailouts happened because Dubbya and his cronies fucked the US economy like a french whore ( no insult meant to French Whores).

  121. #123 'Tis Himself
    April 15, 2009

    It’s become popular among liberals to blame the economic crisis on the Bush administration. Similarly, conservatives point their fingers at Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd. As historian Gordon Prange said (about a completely different topic), “There’s enough blame for everyone.”

    This crisis was years in the making. Financial deregulation had a major part in it, as did other government and Federal Reserve policies, as did thinking short-term while ignoring the long-term, as did wishful thinking on the parts of many of us, and simple greed had a lot to do with the situation we’re in now.

    Getting out of the crisis will be difficult, long, and painful for many people. The good fairy will not wave her wand and it’ll all be better. It will take years to finally resolve the problems and the resolution will undoubtedly cause other problems to be dealt with.

  122. #124 Jadehawk
    April 15, 2009

    No bailouts for GM, Chrysler, AIG, etc. Let them collapse.

    GM has been given a deadline (June, I believe) to come up with a plan how to become profitable again by next year; if they fail, they’ll be filing bankrupcy.
    Chrystler is being sold to the Italians, but only because the U.S. government was willing to add a dowry to that ugly bride*, otherwise we’d have that giant corpse on our hands, and that would be even more expensive.

    Now, if all of those were left to simply collapse… do you have ANY idea how many more unemployed people that would make? no? didn’t think so. If this weren’t a recession, yes, they could and should be let off to die. But to dump more unemployment onto a system that already can’t handle it is fucking dumb.

    Extended unemployment benefits.Bring back the WPA and CCC. Put people to work doing work, by hand.

    ROTFLMAO. Another one of those non-recession issues. After all the money for that is coming from where? besides, putting 10-20% of the population on unemployment isn’t going to jump start the economy in any way, shape, or form, and in the worst case scenario, with all the money invested in bridging people over the worst, we’d prolong the crisis until we run out of unemployment money.

    Provide severe penalties for those providing jobs to illegal immigrants — frees up about 12M jobs that Americans will be hungry to take.

    again, this is an issue for non-recession times, since the status-quo based upon the slave-like illegal labor is both a human rights and an immigration law issue, and a huge one at that. however, doing this now would simply further the collapse of the economy**, for a handful of reasons, starting at the fact that Americans won’t work in such conditions, corporations will be leached of more money and cheap labor, and no-one is going to hire carpenters to fix their kitchen cabinets when the cheap labor from in front of Home Depot disappears suddenly.

    Legalize marijuana, ecstasy, and other non-physically-addictive drugs and tax them. Release the offenders (incarcerated at $60K/year/inmate of our tax dollars) and put those funds to work keeping people fed and clothed and housed.

    nice idea, for the long term. short of storming the bastille Capitol Hill, this will not be accomplished in time to help this particular recession, though.

    Want to print money and spend it somewhere? OK! How about interest-free business loans to startups? How about more infrastructure projects? How about tax credits to existing employers who create new, family-wage jobs (not a bunch of part-time, no-benefits McJobs)?

    the interest free loans to startups are probably the only doable idea you had in this longass post. congratulations.
    as for infrastructure… what do you think the mammoth part of that stimulus bill war originally for? unfortunately, a lot of that infrastructure stuff was hissed at by the republicans and chopped right out of the bills.

    basically, your ideas would have been great if we had tried to implement them 8 years ago. they are unrealistic at best in our current situation.

    *plagiarized from TIME, because it was such an awesome line

    **it’s highly questionable (to put it mildly) whether economy ever comes before human rights, but in U.S. politics it generally does, so I’m gonna go with this machiavellian standard for the sake of argument

  123. #125 Derek
    April 15, 2009

    My right wing father invited me to go with him to Texas for some teabagging. I declined. I have better things to do with my time off than to spend it with Glenn Beck fans.

  124. #126 skyotter
    April 15, 2009

    i went to a “planned” event at the Alaska Capitol building. i was the only one there. not one teabagger in sight. even the “planners” were AWOL

    and, ironically, i wasn’t there to protest, but to point and laugh watch and take pictures

    if anyone needs pics of the very empty steps of the Alaska Capitol, just let me know …

  125. #127 wasd
    April 15, 2009

    All the liberal complaining about the teabaggers use of so called “astroturf” techniques when setting up for teabagging is ridiculous, just look at how cute things are in Washington state. Seriously, I couldn`t help but wonder whether this was some sort of daring public improvisation theater troop performance art act. I guarantee these speeches will make your first bookreport seem like an Obama rally…

    Somehow I don`t think there will be quite as many port-a-potties crumbled under the weight of people climbing on them to as there were in Grant park after election night.

    And I am sure its just a coincidence that this nice and, uh, interesting lady from Jacksonville Florida says something while a local TV reporter from Cincinnati OH describes a signs saying something rather similar. Oh and I doubt this ladies artworks sells for more than 250.000 a years thus resulting in an increased income tax rate. But then again, there is no accounting for taste and I really shouldn`t judge a piece of art by the artist right?

    Its also kinda interesting how many “dont tax me, bro” signs I have come across on youtube. Oh and there is the “we surround them” sign that caught my eye.

    When I see people chaining themselfs to the roads around federal reserve building trying to keep the money in then I will start the comparison to the people who tied themselfs to German train tracks trying to keep the endless trains full of Abrahams tanks from making their way to Iraq. Until then all I can say is: the teabaggers are faking it.

  126. #128 mythusmage
    April 15, 2009

    Once we were so certain dogs were insensate beasts. Once we were convinced that the giant squid was the product of imagination and rotgut. Now again we assert with conviction that a thing cannot be of any value, have any validity.

    We know that creationists are wrong, because we have the evidence to back up our claims. We say the tax protesters are wrong, but supply only our beliefs. I hear people saying that the eyes of Leviathan are but dinner plates, scarce noting the tentacle with it’s hook armed suckers looping in upon them. It is one thing to dismiss a fool when you can show he is a fool. To dismiss another before you have gathered the evidence showing he is a fool speaks ill of you.

  127. #129 Liveliest Crib
    April 15, 2009

    For the hell of it, I thought I’d ask some typical [ahem] teabaggers some basic questions on life, politics and government in the United States. The answers, of course, are composite, but capture the gist of how your average member of Know Knothing Knation thinks:

    1. Is a college education a good thing or a bad thing? Why?
    It’s bad. I know everything I need to know to solve all the world’s problems just by living and breathing. Colleges never put a man on the moon or make lots of money. Americans did. It’s like in that Pink Floyd song, we don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control. All a college education can do is brainwash you into believing things that aren’t true, like evolution, socialism, atheism and marijuana.

    2. Where is it written that “We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal . . . “?
    In communist countries like Russia, France and Vermont.

    3. In your opinion, does the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution alter the nature of federalism? If so, how?
    The amendments are good and all, but they don’t mean that gays or communists have rights like the far left liberals are trying to say. You can’t find anything in there about them.

    4. Define the word “Mandate.”
    An evening on the town to be enjoyed by Republicans like Larry Craig and Ted Haggard, but illegal, heinous sin for everyone else.

    5. Define the word, “Socialism.”
    I don’t agree with socialism, and it will not come to America no matter what, and don’t think I don’t have a right to a gun to stop the socialists, because I do.

    6. Should public schools hold mandatory prayer sessions?
    Yes cuz if they don’t then there is no freedom of religion because we are a Christian nation free to be Christians, and if the government says we can’t then that’s wrong, but it’s okay if liberals hate us Christians, because we’re used to it and you can’t hold us back because you can’t hold back god.

    7. Let’s say that taxes have been reduced to zero, but the economy is still in trouble. What action, if any, should the government take to help the economy? Explain your answer.
    Cut taxes.

  128. #130 Guy Incognito
    April 15, 2009

    It is one thing to dismiss a fool when you can show he is a fool. To dismiss another before you have gathered the evidence showing he is a fool speaks ill of you.

    Did somebody just eat a fortune cookie?

  129. #131 RobertDW
    April 15, 2009

    mythusmage, it’s easy to show that tax protesters are wrong. First, they are opposing tax increases on the poor. There are no planned tax increases for anyone earning less than a bucket-load of money; that includes the poor. The vast majority of tax protestors will get a tax cut.

    Second, they claim the proposed tax increases for the rich will cause economic destruction. However, the tax increase will take taxes back to a level significantly less than it was during the 80s and most of the 90s, and will offset an increasing imbalance in the tax system in the US that has occured over the last 8 years.

    Thirdly, they claim the tax changes are about revenue raising. It’s modelled to be revenue neutral. Some closing of loopholes used by the ultra-rich will be revenue positive, but that’s a separate exercise – not part of the tax changes being protested.

    Fourth – as the news clip points out, they aren’t even recreating a relevant protest. The Boston Tea Party wasn’t about high taxes – it was about taxes they didn’t agree to. Taxation without Representation. Well, the tax protesters have representation, and that representation is what is putting in the taxes they are protesting.

    Fifth – they’re inviting people to come to a teabagging. A teabagging! Come on, that’s comedy gold! If someone referred to a manual activity like, oh, plumbing as a ‘hand job’, we’d laugh too. Sure, it’s a little childish, like giggling because “you said butt… heh heh”, but it’s still funny.

    Heh – I’m going to have to watch that clip again now.

  130. #132 RobertDW
    April 15, 2009

    I swear to the invisible sky fairy, the Republican hard right these days can’t do anything but disagree with the Democrats.

    They voted against Bush’s stimulus package – because the Democrats backed it.

    In California, they voted against Conan the Republican’s budget – because the Democrats backed it.

    They vote against stem cell research – because the Democrats support it.

    They oppose everything Obama puts forward – because he’s a Democrat. Even when Obama puts forward exactly the same things that Bush put forward they slam him.

    I mean, if the Democrat-controlled Congress tomorrow put forward a resolution saying that Christian Bible Study was to be made mandatory in place of mathematics in high school; that homosexuality would be punishable by life imprisonment; that all taxes would be made a voluntary contribution; and that the best use of stimulus funding will be to buy assault rifles to give away to anyone who wants one – the Republicans would STILL vote against it out of pure reflex, and say that it doesn’t go far enough.

  131. #133 hje
    April 15, 2009

    Wonkette has some great photos of teabaggers in action.

    http://wonkette.com/407854/your-wonkette-teabagging-tour-part-ii

    Teabaggers should listen to their moms: Don’t talk with when your mouth is full!

  132. #134 Troublesome Frog
    April 15, 2009

    Jenny,

    Your prescriptions to fix the economy are very interesting from an Austrian perspective. This adds more evidence to my belief that most of the people on the Internet cheering the Austrians and booing Keynes don’t really understand either of them.

  133. #135 uncle frogy
    April 15, 2009

    tsig #102 thanks for that?

    don’t worry about the huge debt much, if the spending works which judging by the protests I see looks like a real possibility. We will pay for it the way all huge debts are paid for with inflated dollars.
    Besides sounds like a good way to help unite the world in peace with ever more interwoven economies.

  134. #136 Africangenesis
    April 15, 2009

    Natalie,

    “Need I remind you that TARP and the bailouts were started in 2008, while Bush was still president?”

    Do you need to be reminded that Bush was the big spending centrist, nation building, democracy nurturing, education president? Conservatives (of the US ilk) have traditionally opposed bailouts and foreign entanglements.

    Tis’ Himself,

    “Getting out of the crisis will be difficult, long, and painful for many people.”

    You post was as reasonable and traditional as the economic sense being spoken by the thousands of ordinary working people at the tea party I just attended.

    Unfortunately, they and you don’t realize that it doesn’t have long and difficult. Print the money, and give it to ALL the people. Trillions of our fiat money have disappeared in the deleveraging of the fractional reserve banking system, instead of giving the banks the benefit of newly printed money, and instead of having the government subsidize nonproductive enterprises, give the people the money, and let them pick the winners and losers, and choose to consume, invest and save as they see fit. Use the media to educate the poor about how to make the best choices with their equal share, so it all doesn’t end up in drugs and big screen TVs. There are real estate, stock markets, and economies in Europe, Japan, China, India, etc, to reinflate. The Federal reserve can manage the money supply by monitoring prices and capacity utilization. There is no excuse for this large amount of wasted productive capacity. 88 to 92% capacity utilization, is low enough that there is still the room for the greatly productive creative destruction of the capitalist economy. Yes, the “people” will be getting something for nothing, but it is a fiat money supply, why should only the banks have been getting it?

    With the economy producing again, tax revenues will be up and we can afford Obama’s national health care system. I’m willing to make that trade. Nothing is as wasteful as the lost productivity and growth that we experience in recessions and depressions (unless it is war). Even at the price of an oppressive, ill advised national health care system that will harm more people than it will help, it is worth it.

  135. #137 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 15, 2009

    I was downtown today and the teabaggers were out in force. Had I not been on my way to something I would have stopped and taken pictures. I haven’t seen so many grumpy people since PETA was in town.

  136. #138 Kel
    April 15, 2009

    Do you need to be reminded that Bush was the big spending centrist, nation building, democracy nurturing, education president? Conservatives (of the US ilk) have traditionally opposed bailouts and foreign entanglements.

    The “No true conservative” argument. Nice work there AG

  137. #139 CalGeorge
    April 15, 2009

    “If you are planning teabagging … all around the country, you’re gonna need a dick army.”

    Whoa!

  138. #140 rtp10
    April 15, 2009

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT6_eNWZt-E

    What t-bagging in sports is. From this I think we can all glean what t-bagging really means.

    With some another video-

    http://twoandahater.blogspot.com/2009/04/so-ironic-tea-bagging.html

  139. #141 GilbertNSullivan
    April 15, 2009

    Do you need to be reminded that Bush was the big spending centrist, nation building, democracy nurturing, education president?

    I certainly did! You must be so proud of his legacy.

  140. #142 MikeG
    April 15, 2009

    I’m a little late for the “test you TypePad” thread, so I’ll have to post something substantive, rather than just a “test” message, so here goes:

    Aw, hell, I got nothing. This teabagging thing is too damn funny. I’m still laughing too hard to get the oxygen back to my brain to have anything to say.

    Beck teabagging Hannity, HAH! No, wait…

    *HURK* I gotta go…

  141. #143 uknesvuinng
    April 15, 2009

    “Do you need to be reminded that Bush was the big spending centrist, nation building, democracy nurturing, education president?”

    Are you looking at the same Bush? Other than “big spending,” that’s the opposite of G.W. Bush.

  142. #144 Victor
    April 15, 2009

    There were far too many double entendres in there for them to be unaware of.

  143. #145 Jadehawk
    April 15, 2009

    Bush was the big spending centrist, nation building, democracy nurturing, education president

    that right there completely ruined the semi-reasonable stuff you said afterwards

  144. #146 hje
    April 15, 2009

    Gov. Rick Perry: Texas Could Secede, Leave Union (at teabagging extravaganza):

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/15/gov-rick-perry-texas-coul_n_187490.html

    Woo hoo! Let’s not bother with a civil war this time. Tell Mexico we changed our mind and would like to give it back.

    On the serious side, this kind of nonsense is only going to lead to trouble: Sometime in the next few years, some Bible-banging wingnut-rich community is going to declare itself independent of the US and arm itself to the teeth. Waco redux, writ large.

  145. #147 Hayate Yagami
    April 15, 2009

    And just think, all of this within the first three and a half months of Obama’s four-year term. Imagine how much fun the next 3.75 years are going to be.

  146. #148 shamar
    April 15, 2009

    Gov. Rick Perry: Texas Could Secede, Leave Union (at teabagging extravaganza):

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/15/gov-rick-perry-texas-coul_n_187490.html

    Woo hoo! Let’s not bother with a civil war this time. Tell Mexico we changed our mind and would like to give it back.

    On the serious side, this kind of nonsense is only going to lead to trouble: Sometime in the next few years, some Bible-banging wingnut-rich community is going to declare itself independent of the US and arm itself to the teeth. Waco redux, writ large.

    No…I live in Texas :-(
    That’s all I need right now…..

  147. #149 AgnosticNews
    April 15, 2009

    Sometime in the next few years, some Bible-banging wingnut-rich community is going to declare itself independent of the US and arm itself to the teeth. Waco redux, writ large.

    We can hope?

  148. #150 Janine Of The Fixed Identity
    April 15, 2009

    I am have a silly question. If Good Hair carries through with his threat to succeed, how will the US be able to teabag Mexico?

  149. #151 jyoungberg
    April 15, 2009

    As a Wheaton, IL resident (and likely the only Atheist/liberal here) I have to be disappointed in my city. As far as I’m concerned all these tea baggers are hypocrites and traitors. Where were they when Bush was wasting billions on Iraq and spying on US citizens? They were saying anyone critical of Bush was anti-American. Their attitude today re-enforces how I define a conservative:

    “Violence prone control-freaks who think freedom is their exclusive property to distribute or hoard as they see fit; especially the freedom to not be held responsible for their actions, the freedom to judge others by radically different (and constantly fluxuating) standards than they do themselves, and the freedom to treat everyone else like a tool to be used, abused, then discarded.”

    Or to put in psychology terms, “Someone with a Me-It perception on life.”

  150. #152 RobertDW
    April 16, 2009

    Good Hair carries through with his threat to succeed

    That’s secede – as in “Texas did not succeed with their attempt to secede from the United States, because all the people with a clue decide to leave the renegade state and the economy crashed like the Golgafrinchan B ark.”

  151. #153 Janine Of The Fixed Identity
    April 16, 2009

    Yeah, my use of English is sad. Even more sad, it is my only language.

  152. #154 H.H.
    April 16, 2009

    Both Colbert and The Daily show absolutely skewered these “spontaneous” tea bag protests tonight, and showed how the entire movement was actually promoted and sponsored by Fox news. It was beautiful. Hopefully clips will be available online soon.

  153. #155 Kseniya
    April 16, 2009

    Imagine how much fun the next 3.75 years are going to be.

    I think this is just a phase. The wingnuts have forgotten what it’s like to be the minority party, and they’re totally flipping out. Unfortunately, they remember the lessons of the Clinton years: Accuse the Democratic President of everything under the sun, and get in the way of everything the Democrats try to do, regardless of how “unpatriotic” such actions would be if performed under a Republican regime.

    Either way, the video is pretty amusing. The Million-Man March footage was… stunning. Do those people even THINK before they open their mouths?

    AG:

    Use the media to educate the poor about how to make the best choices with their equal share, so it all doesn’t end up in drugs and big screen TVs.

    Wow. Classist, muchly? I thought the idea was to “let the people pick the winners and losers”. But not the poor, eh what? They’re too stupid, is that it? They’re all addicts and couch potatoes?

  154. #156 Dr.P
    April 16, 2009

    ‘Conservatives (of the US ilk) have traditionally opposed bailouts and foreign entanglements.’—Uh , not true, not even in my own recent memory—and if by democracy nurturing,education president you mean that no-child-left behind moron that just left office whose minions made an unprecedented grab to centralize executive branch power at the expense of the legislative and judicial branches then yes, I suppose we understand each other completely…..

  155. #157 abb3w
    April 16, 2009

    Low blow.

  156. #158 John Phillips, FCD
    April 16, 2009

    Come on folks, it’s obvious ain’t it? The right wing media whores are afraid that with GW gone the comics won’t have enough material to keep America laughing. Thus, being the good patriots they are, they offer themselves up as comic fodder to keep Americans laughing in this time of woe. Well either that or they really are as dumb as they appear.

  157. #159 Kseniya
    April 16, 2009

    Even at the price of an oppressive, ill advised national health care system that will harm more people than it will help…

    AG, are you a psychic? It will harm more people than it will help? How do you know that? You’ve made quite a bold claim. Please provide some supporting information.

  158. #160 Autumn
    April 16, 2009

    Okay, just to be clear, I’m not an economist, but every time I hear someone use the phrase “printing money” to describe any sort of deficit spending I really want to shake them. I’m sure that there has been an increase in the money supply, but in general the Federal Government does not “print money” to raise funds. The government offers bonds and such to those who would like to invest in them.
    Actually, points to AG for seriously proposing the Weimar Republic as a solid economic model. Haven’t laughed that hard in weeks.

  159. #161 ChrisZ
    April 16, 2009

    Umm, can anyone actually find a reference where one of the supporters of these parties calls it teabagging? It seems to me that’s just part of this guy making fun of them, I can’t find anyone else calling it teabagging.

  160. #162 Africangenesis
    April 16, 2009

    Keninya,

    “AG, are you a psychic? It will harm more people than it will help? How do you know that? You’ve made quite a bold claim. Please provide some supporting information.”

    Sure, undocumented workers in the US send money back to Mexico and other countries and are significant contributers to those economies. Obviously, they could have spent some of that money on healthcare instead, but by their own choice, valued something else more than healthcare. When you force them to pay for healthcare instead, it will harm the people they were sending money to, as judged by their value system. Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. There are more basic necessities than healthcare, e.g., food and shelter and perhaps even some appliances which make life easier.

    Many in America’s luxury health care system will also be harmed. Socialist systems tend over time to ration services and rationally impose decisions based upon the most cost effective standards. An example, I like to use is the pap smear. Many in the luxurious US system, get pap smears annually, even though cost effectiveness analyses show that these should be done only every 5 years, unless there has been HPV exposure. Many women get peace of mind from annual tests, and these tests do save lives through earlier detection. It is just not the most cost effective way to save lives. Those who value health should have just as much right to continue luxury health care as they have to any other luxury item they have earned or are willing to pay for such as higher grade televisions or autos or homes. Many socialist systems don’t allow unequal healthcare, even though all people don’t value healthcare or their own lives equally.

  161. #163 mythusmage
    April 16, 2009

    RobertDW: April 15, 2009 8:23 PM

    You are right that the taxes are not directly on the poor, but that does not mean those taxes do not affect the poor. Being one of those (by American government standards), in order for me to be above the poverty line for a individual I would need to be earning something like $20,000 per annum. It’s really very simple, the more money taken in taxes, the less money there is in the private economy.

    There are times when only government action can do the job. But, the government tends to be inefficient, and riddled with corruption. My home town of San Diego is still not dealing adequately with her pension crisis, and local housing construction firms have a pernicious influence on city hall. So officials, executives, and labor all work together to restrict the supply and jack up the price. Management and labor in this country learned a long time ago how to benefit from their relationship, and government gets its cut by acting as mediator and facilitator.

    One thing I’ve noticed from a number of the comments in this thread is the inexperience of the writer. Many of you have no experience with how government works and things get done when the cameras are off. You don’t have friends in politics, you have mutual interests, and a close buddy on one issue can be your worst enemy with the next.

    Politics is a lousy, rotten, cynical fraud, and anybody who tells you different is looking to separate you from your available cash. Obama is a politician, that’s what he knows, that’s what he does best. He has things he wants to implement, but whether they’ll work or not he does not know, because either they haven’t been tried before, or they’ve been tried, found wanting, and the conclusions following from those failures rejected because they do not agree with personal beliefs.

    Ever notice how socialist and liberal leaders tend to come from the upper echelons of society, or to rise to those levels after starting out in more plebian surrounds? Leaders gather power, power is addicting. Getting addicted means needing more power, and that includes control over how we use our resources.

    Why do taxes keep going up, with but a few times when they go down? Because politicians, regardless of party, don’t trust you to use your money wisely. No, only the proper authorities know where to spend your money to do the most good, for them. And don’t you dare hint they make errors.

    Once three men, the Pope, a newspaper editor, and a politician got together at a bar to discuss life. As they talked the Pope admitted he had a confession to make. Said he as he sipped his latte (21st century joke, of course it’s a coffee bar), “I must confess my friends, that even when I’m talking ex-cathedra I often wonder if I may be in error. I can only trust that God Himself keeps my words on the right path and free of errancy.”

    The other two pondered that for awhile, and then the newspaper editor said, “There are numerous occasions when I wonder about mistakes creeping in to the periodical I labor so diligently for. No matter how I hard I work it is always my concern that errors will make their appearance.”

    The politicians made sympathetic noises, and then asked, “You appear troubled by your travails. Pray tell, what are these “mistakes” you keep talking about?”

  162. #164 Africangenesis
    April 16, 2009

    Autumn,

    “Actually, points to AG for seriously proposing the Weimar Republic as a solid economic model. Haven’t laughed that hard in weeks.”

    The Weimar Republic didn’t have the world’s reserve currency and China, Japan, India and the oil exporting nations lined up to honor every bit of money they printed. Keep in mind also, that I am not proposing printing money enough to over commit the productive capacity of the nation, and in a non-deflationary time, no more money would have been created than otherwise to lubricate the growth of the economy. It is just the people rather than the banks that would get the benefit of the money that is created. That money creation would no longer be dependent upon an unstable pyramid of leverage that contributes to the “business cycles”. They really should be called “government fiat money cycles”. Note that there is also the benefit that interest rates would not have to be lowered to levels that disincentivise savings and investment and contributed to a low US savings rate. Perhaps you doubt that the federal reserve could manage this new tool to a target rate of inflation, or perhaps you just haven’t thought about it. I admit it may take time for the Fed to earn the confidence of the world community. But, even increased inflation expecations in the near term would support housing, labor and other prices. But at the same time, an increase in the interest rates would also help counter any lessening of the market value of the dollar.

  163. #165 Wowbagger, OM
    April 16, 2009

    Africangenesis,

    Those who value health should have just as much right to continue luxury health care as they have to any other luxury item they have earned or are willing to pay for such as higher grade televisions or autos or homes.

    Isn’t this a false dichotomy? Why does it have to be one or the other? In Australia we have both public and private health care. If you want to pay for more, no-one is stopping you; however, no-one is bankrupted when they require care in an emergency. It seems to work quite well.

  164. #166 Kel
    April 16, 2009

    Isn’t this a false dichotomy? Why does it have to be one or the other? In Australia we have both public and private health care. If you want to pay for more, no-one is stopping you; however, no-one is bankrupted when they require care in an emergency. It seems to work quite well.

    I find it amazing that anyone can defend not having affordable healthcare for the poor. But there AG goes again… what a surprise

  165. #167 Ken_Cope
    April 16, 2009

    Many socialist systems don’t allow unequal healthcare, even though all people don’t value healthcare or their own lives equally.

    I value my life sufficiently that I’m selfish; I want anybody I might accidentally encounter to be so healthy that they’re not contagious. Glibertarians are not sufficiently selfish to want universal health in order to make sure of maintaining their own health.

  166. #168 John Phillips, FCD
    April 16, 2009

    AG, with the exception of N. Korea and Cuba (ignoring of course what is available for the elites of those two countries), every other country I know of with some form of socialised medicine allows the option of private health insurance to one degree or another, even China.

  167. #169 Ichthyic
    April 16, 2009

    Sure, undocumented workers in the US send money back to Mexico and other countries and are significant contributers to those economies.

    [citation needed]

    Obviously, they could have spent some of that money on healthcare instead

    [citation needed]

    but by their own choice, valued something else more than healthcare.

    [citation needed]

    Socialist systems tend over time to ration services and rationally impose decisions based upon the most cost effective standards.

    [citation needed]

    …and…

    compared to WHAT? the current US “health care” system?

    finally…

    Many socialist systems don’t allow unequal healthcare, even though all people don’t value healthcare or their own lives equally.

    [citation needed]

    getting the fucking point, yet?

    because I sure think you rather badly missed it in Kseniya’s post.

    …as well as spelling her name wrong, which is even more moronic given it was just a couple of posts above your response.

    *sigh*

    Your inability to actually learn from experience is what baffles me most about you, though your apparent insistence you know fuck all about economics and history is what makes me want to kick you in the taint.

  168. #170 RobertDW
    April 16, 2009

    Why do taxes keep going up

    Mythusmage, I’d like a source for that. The source I found (an OECD report) says that total tax revenue in the US, as a percentage of GDP, peaked in 2000 at 29.9% (from a dizzying low in 1985 of 25.6%); in 2006 it was 28.0%.

    Nor was revenue share linked to GDP growth; Greece, for example went from a tax revenue share of 19.4% in 1975 to 31.3% share in 2006 – but their GDP went from $25,040,380,000.00/year (#30 in the world) to $244,951,400,000.00 (#27 in the world); an almost 10-fold increase, or about the same pace as the United States over the same period.

    Tax revenue in absolute terms grows constantly; that’s because GDP grows. But as a share in GDP, it’s relatively static – it goes up in boom times as a lot of tax is income & consumption linked, and down in bad times, but it fluctuates around the same level.

  169. #171 Kel
    April 16, 2009

    Sure, undocumented workers in the US send money back to Mexico and other countries and are significant contributers to those economies.

    Obviously it’s the undocumented workers who are the only ones who would benefit from socialising medicine… it’s not like there are real americans who are suffering because they cannot get health insurance, cannot work and face huge medical bills…

  170. #172 Africangenesis
    April 16, 2009

    Kel,

    I am a strong advocate of more affordable health care, I’d like to reduce the cut going to the doctors, FDA and insurance companies significantly. The government has no more business licensing doctors and medicines than it does marriages. Hmmm, monopoly profits, as is often the case, government is the problem, not the solution. Hey, I think that was on the one of the signs I carried at the tea party.

  171. #173 Kel
    April 16, 2009

    I am a strong advocate of more affordable health care, I’d like to reduce the cut going to the doctors, FDA and insurance companies significantly.

    Then how do you propose such a system would work without regulation? You seem to have the option that such a system would work itself out, or you need a governing body to intervene and regulate the industry. So unless you can demonstrate that it can work itself out, then you need to concede that in order for everyone to have cheap, affordable healthcare then you need some form of government intervention.

  172. #174 Africangenesis
    April 16, 2009

    “it’s not like there are real americans who are suffering because they cannot get health insurance, cannot work and face huge medical bills… ”

    In America, those who can’t work, usually have access to medical coverage (medicaid, disability medicare, etc). The concern is for the working poor and the young and healthy who often choose to spend their money on other priorities, cell phones, tatoos, single family apartments, etc. Of course, these “necessities” are luxuries in other parts of the world. But obviously, they should be forced to purchase healthcare instead, or worse, perhaps you are suggesting that OTHERS should be forced to purchase healthcare for them?

  173. #175 Kel
    April 16, 2009

    Of course, these “necessities” are luxuries in other parts of the world. But obviously, they should be forced to purchase healthcare instead, or worse, perhaps you are suggesting that OTHERS should be forced to purchase healthcare for them?

    Are you suggesting that it’s a dichotomy between people buying luxuries and having healthcare?

  174. #176 Wowbagger, OM
    April 16, 2009

    Then how do you propose such a system would work without regulation?

    IIRC, he believes that people can do the diagnoses and work out prescriptions and treatment and so forth for themselves. I’m assuming he’d still like to have qualified surgeons around, but you never know; perhaps he’s handier with a pocketknife than I am…

  175. #177 RobertDW
    April 16, 2009

    In Australia we have both public and private health care

    That said, Wowbagger – our private health care system is a crock, and can easily leave you with massive costs afterwards. My son broke his arm earlier this year; we went private rather than public, and the resulting out-of-pocket expense, after insurance, was about $2000.

    I don’t regret spending the money, even though the difference in care amounted to a private room for one night with my wife staying with my son – my son is autistic, and the only way he would have stayed in a public ward would have been to be sedated or restrained, neither of which we wanted. But this difference in care was from the hospital – which had a fixed excess of $300 on our health plan. However, the private surgeon who straightened my son’s arm cost us nearly $1200 more than provided by our health cover (which is top-of-the-line cover); the total bill from the surgeon was about $2000, Medicare (the government system) refunded me a bit over $500, and our insurance provider only gave out about $150.

    I don’t mind paying for expensive private health insurance, but I’d appreciate it if the insurance actually insured all of my costs. I know that if I ever have an emergency, I’m going public all the way. Our public system is great, if somewhat under-funded, and would only be improved by removing the subsidy provided to private health and forcing them to actually provide a proper level of service instead of refunding for aromatherapy and acupuncture.

  176. #178 Africangenesis
    April 16, 2009

    Kel,

    “Then how do you propose such a system would work without regulation? You seem to have the option that such a system would work itself out, or you need a governing body to intervene and regulate the industry”

    As usual, I am willing to compromise to get more freedom. Doctors can of course, organize as they already have, with marketing ploys such as board certifications. They may well be able to charge more if these are valued by the consumers. But the compromise, I think would work, would be the FDA could still “approve” drugs if it wanted, and consumers could insist on using only approved FDA approved drugs if they consider that valuable and important. I might even consider FDA accumulated evidence in my own decision making. Another part of the compromise could be government licensing of emergency rooms and emergency room doctors, since these will often be providing care to those who did not have a chance to choose their services. Certainly, if the government is paying for healthcare and prescriptions, it should have quality standards. I even supported the medicare prescription program, because I felt a medical insurance program did not make sense without it.

  177. #179 Kel
    April 16, 2009

    I wish libertarians would exit their own fantasyland for once and just talk pure pragmatics. Forego the masturbatory view of reality and talk about specific sustainable change that would allow for the betterment of society. Just like the environmentalist who wants the whole world to stop polluting right now – it ain’t going to happen so it’s best to try and work with what we do have towards practical change. But no, we have to listen to their utopia and anything that even compromises that ideal must be discarded.

    “Conservatives only want to go back in time a couple of hundred years, Libertarians want to take us back about 100,000 years.” – Rack Jite

  178. #180 Kel
    April 16, 2009

    Oh wow, he’s given an inch. But his idea of self-medicating sounds fucking dangerous. Can only imagine the problems caused by the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  179. #181 RobertDW
    April 16, 2009

    But obviously, they should be forced to purchase healthcare instead, or worse, perhaps you are suggesting that OTHERS should be forced to purchase healthcare for them

    Economic studies (which I do not have at hand, and won’t cite – do your own research) have shown that having a decent level of public health is a net positive to GDP. As such, investing tax dollars into healthcare provides a positive ROI to society. Is this still a stupid thing to do?

    (You can easily argue what the most cost-effective level is, of course, but it’s safe to say it’s beyond emergency-care only. Hint: it’s cheaper to provide preventative medicine than emergency-care, which is why so many US hospitals allow their ER units to be turned into de-facto day clinics)

    As for being forced – US workers, including the young-and-healthy are forced to buy health insurance already, through the employer-provided insurance. Indeed, insurance companies wouldn’t be viable without that – a large body of people who don’t “need” insurance but pay for it anyway are required to subside the ones who do “need” the insurance. Whenever young-and-healthy people drop out of the insurance system, premiums go up and services go down.

  180. #182 Emmet, OM
    April 16, 2009

    I wish libertarians would ? talk about ? change that would allow for the betterment of society.

    Then they wouldn’t be libertarians; it’s like wishing for vegans to eat meat.

  181. #183 Africangenesis
    April 16, 2009

    Kel,

    “I wish libertarians would exit their own fantasyland for once and just talk pure pragmatics”

    Leave room on your fantasyland scale for left anarchists at the far end. I haven’t gotten any practical details from them beyond a “read Kropotkin”. Hopefully you will have more luck with them than I. The really don’t participate on the forum in good faith.

    As to a comparison with comservatives, there actually has been a convergence, most libertarians are limited government constitutionalists now, the idealogues and anarchist are in a dwindling minority. Conservatives still cling to their drug wars and have a stronger overlay of collectivist religions, like nationalism.

  182. #184 Kel
    April 16, 2009

    Leave room on your fantasyland scale for left anarchists at the far end. I haven’t gotten any practical details from them beyond a “read Kropotkin”. Hopefully you will have more luck with them than I. The really don’t participate on the forum in good faith.

    Red herring there, I’m not arguing for or against left anarchism, but if I were I’d argue that they are as idealistic as those anarcho-capitalists with no basis in reality. Complete social compliance is as much a useless ideal for humanity than thinking that ultra-individualism can maintain standards with nothing more than social pressure. But above all else, both arguments are an immediate and drastic change for society – something of which would be disastrous. It puts idealism ahead of pragmatics, and that’s akin to creationism.

  183. #185 Africangenesis
    April 16, 2009

    “I wish libertarians would ? talk about ? change that would allow for the betterment of society.”

    There is no objective thing as “the betterment of society”. Whose subjective values are you going to use assess such change? Libertarians argue for changes that allow individuals to apply their own values to decisions impacting their own lives. The advantage that a philosophy of individual freedom has, is that in can incorporate all the advantages of voluntary collectives and communal living also, since these are not precluded.

  184. #186 Kel
    April 16, 2009

    I guess what I’m saying is I’m only really interested these days in what works; what is the best way to achieve practical measures based on objective outcomes. What goals are the best measures for societies and the individuals herein, and how can we modify what we already have in order to accommodate that? With this, a focus on realistic understanding of humanity both on a psychological and physiological level seems a vital cause – it’s important to ask what the consequences are in a population by legalising heroin for example. Would the choice that comes from self-medication really make for a better society when we are putting potentially deadly drugs into the hands of individuals who don’t know better? Would taking away the expert nature of knowledge in this matter really make us safer? Likewise, would allowing people to own unrestricted weaponry make the potential for destruction surpass the freedom that owning nuclear weapons would provide?

    These seem like extreme examples, but surely they are pertinent to ask. Because we are at a stage now where our output has surpassed our individual capacity to handle it, so if there is any doubt that the layman could handle it, then we need some governance to regulate / restrict such items. Ultimately we have to appeal to something: ideas, philosophies, nature, God, whatever, when making an argument. Is absolute freedom more important than having restrictions where it’s recognised that the individual cannot possibly handle such freedoms? What are the necessities of life, both philosophically and practically? What role should the society feed the individual and vice versa? Those are the real questions to me, and while I don’t have answers for them, I don’t think it helps at all to live in idealism and forego the restrictions that we have in the context of society.

  185. #187 RobertDW
    April 16, 2009

    The advantage that a philosophy of individual freedom has, is that in can incorporate all the advantages of voluntary collectives and communal living also, since these are not precluded

    No, it can’t.

    As a collective, for example, a group can decide that they do not want polluted drinking water, and can therefore ban dumping in the local reservoir. With individual freedom as the main factor, however, individuals who find it easy to dump toxic waste in the reservoir are free to do so.

    A significant range of actions require group co-operation and co-ordination to succeed. Others bring benefits to everyone, but accepting only voluntary support allows people to be parasites (think garbage collection, road maintenance, sewage, and other local government responsibilities). Sacrificing certain freedoms allows for much greater benefits – e.g. immunisation & education provide benefits to all. Network effects build up exponentially as people join in.

    We can see the results of libertarian thinking at the global level, because if you collapse each country into a single entity (for ease of analogy), then the relationships between countries globally are libertarian, as there is only a loose framework of law that many countries ignore. And we can see these issues being played out writ large; just look at the problem co-ordinating a response to global warming. If there was a global government (not saying there should be) then global warming would have been discussed and a global co-ordinated response (be it cut carbon emissions, throw sulphur dioxide in the air, or just ignore it) would be forthcoming in a few years at most. But because we give a high degree of respect to individual freedom (at the sovereign nation level), this is going to take decades to resolve, and we will probably never have a truly co-ordinated response.

    The fact of the matter is that as humans live in large groups, and we increasingly specialise in our skills and interest, it is necessary to start promoting the group at the expense of the individual. The question is where to find the right balance. The larger and more co-dependant the group gets, the more it will be necessary to favour the group.

  186. #188 Africangenesis
    April 16, 2009

    RobertDW,

    Pollution has been interpreted as a form of coercive imposition upon others. It is a tough issue, my personal pet peeve is light pollution. I’ve also considered the idea of a traditional but limited “right to pollute”, something quantitatively of the magnitude of a campfire. These are difficult issues.

    “The fact of the matter is that as humans live in large groups, and we increasingly specialise in our skills and interest, it is necessary to start promoting the group at the expense of the individual. The question is where to find the right balance. The larger and more co-dependant the group gets, the more it will be necessary to favour the group.”

    How carefully have you considered this? There are trends that are quite the opposite, consider that in the US no longer uses conscription and is accepting of greater diversity and intercourse within the group, from interracial and gay relationships, to behaviors such as gambling and recreational drug use, prescription drug importation from Canada, compassionate use approvals of investigational drugs, acceptance of homeschooling as an alternative, etc. It does not seem “necessary to favor the group” as a general principle and perhaps there is even the possibility of agreeing that the favoring the group at the expense of the individual should be reduced to the minimum that actually is “necessary”.

  187. #189 RobertDW
    April 16, 2009

    How carefully have you considered this? There are trends that are quite the opposite, consider that in the US no longer uses conscription and is accepting of greater diversity and intercourse within the group, from interracial and gay relationships, to behaviors such as gambling and recreational drug use, prescription drug importation from Canada, compassionate use approvals of investigational drugs, acceptance of homeschooling as an alternative, etc. It does not seem “necessary to favor the group” as a general principle and perhaps there is even the possibility of agreeing that the favoring the group at the expense of the individual should be reduced to the minimum that actually is “necessary”.

    I’ve considered it pretty carefully. Let me go through your examples one by one.

    Conscription – as a group, humans have long held it is necessary to have a standing military. Militaries require money and personnel; money is provided by taxation (and you don’t have the freedom to not pay taxes). Personnel until the 19th century was almost exclusively by conscription and press-ganging – volunteers were used for the NCO and officer ranks. As technology improved, however, conscript armies became cost-ineffective; a properly trained & equipped volunteer army could outfight a conscript army (see Gulf War I). In the US, the decision was made after Vietnam to drop the draft because the military itself argued for the change on performance reasons, not social. With the current Iraq war, the modern US military is struggling to recruit and retain personnel – for several years now, military staff have had their enlistment period involuntarily extended; in effect, they’ve been conscripted to stay in. With low recruitment numbers, the possibility of a draft was raised again, though for now the US seems to have dodged that bullet, with recruitment numbers up again now that you don’t have a president who cruises the world looking for the next fight.

    Accepting of greater diversity in the group? Some would say that’s a violation of their freedoms – the freedom not to live next to a black person, or to not have to see two men holding hands or two women making out at a dance club (or, more generally, the freedom to protect their children from corrupting influences). I would argue that the group benefits from greater diversity, and that trumps those freedoms by promoting other ones.

    Drug importation from Canada? I thought that was illegal. Yeah, it’s done, and I’m sure the Canadian taxpayers absolutely love filling the pharmaceutical needs of the northern US states with their government subsidised medication.

    Gambling? Strongly restricted in most US states. In Australia, where it is legal, we actually considering putting a lot of restrictions on it due to the social harm it causes (for example, kids who go hungry because their father gambled the grocery money away. Or who die from overheating locked into cars while their mother is inside playing the the pokies).

    Recreational drug use? Becoming more legalised, yes, but even alcohol has a lot of freedom-confining restrictions. If you go back about 130 years, though, drug use was completely free of restrictions – we’re coming down from an abnormal level of restriction, and have been since Prohibition. We certainly won’t level out at carte-blanche use.

    Compassionate use of investigational drugs? Sure, why not? If you’re dying anyway, it can’t hurt? Mostly, though, the use itself gets incorporated into studies, and to get it, you have to give up the freedom to sue that you have when you use FDA approved medications.

    Homeschooling? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that homeschooling will be a freedom that will see more restrictions, not less. The big drive for homeschooling these days is coming from the religious right, and I’m hoping that parents will lose the freedom to indoctrinate their children by restricting their socialisation and exposure to alternative ideas that mainstream schooling provides. I’d also want to see a greater level of enforcement on educational standards on homeschoolers. But yes, homeschooling seems to be more popular these days. At least in the US. Hint guys: fix your broken educational system! You might want to do that by not having educational standards dictated directly by people who win popularity contests.

    When we live in a group and co-dependent with everyone in the group, it is necessary to trade freedoms off. The trade should always be about benefiting the group (and by that, I don’t mean the elite rulers of the group) as much as possible. In particular, the freedom to be a parasite (e.g. not pay taxes, steal other peoples property, skip paying a fare for the subway) or to impact other people in a negative way (e.g. my right to buy a gun, vs your right not to be shot down in a mall) should always lose out over positive individual rights.

    The other part to remember is that different people have different values. Many values are in opposition. So the most important freedom you give up when living in a group is the freedom to NOT have other peoples values impact you. In a value clash, somebody has to give. Nearly any value you see as negative can be seen positively in a different light, with different world views.

    Take religion, for example. I want the freedom to not be religious, and live a secular life. I want that for myself, and for my children, so that they can live a life of their own choice, uncontaminated by what I see as superstitious bullshit. A religious person, however, may want to enforce prayer at school because they sincerely believe in heaven and hell, and thus rationally do not want to see their child damned for all eternity, so they don’t want them exposed to corrupting influences. In the resulting battle, one of us will lose absolutely – you can’t have prayers at school be a little bit enforced.

    You always have the right to leave the group, but remember that co-dependency bit? You can’t survive as an individual anymore – you need to be in some group.

  188. #190 John Morales
    April 16, 2009

    And so I read the news.

    A US politician known for broadsides at US foreign policy says Somali piracy has an age-old solution: “Letters of marque” empowering private citizens to chase the seaborne scoundrels from the oceans.
    Republican representative Ron Paul and a handful of conservative theorists say it’s time that the US Congress used the technique – pioneered by European powers hundreds of years ago as a way to wage naval warfare on the cheap.
    Major shipping companies should accept a “go at your own risk” approach and not expect government help when they transit through pirate-infested waters, Mr Paul said this week in a video posted on the public internet site YouTube.

  189. #191 GilbertNSullivan
    April 16, 2009

    Vox Day is a Libertarian.

    Je reste ma valise.

  190. #192 TO'B
    April 16, 2009

    How could we have ever forgotten this sacred requirement in the voting booth? And now we are punished with teabaggers…

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/gallery/2009/04/tax-day-tea-parties.php?img=21

  191. #193 Davo
    April 16, 2009

    You romans are crazy :)

  192. #194 Fred the Hun
    April 16, 2009

    Stobrawa @ 69,

    I love this blog, but I find it disheartening that a set of people who can see bottom-up self-organization of competing biological systems into incredibly complex and parsimonious organisms would be so incredibly blinded to the simple fact that those same principles of bottom-up self-organization apply to complex structures like our economy and livelihood.

    Claiming that the federal central planners are best at taking your money and divvying it up in a top-down central-planned fashion is just as much of a religious dogma as the god zealots.

    I tend to agree with this view and would strongly recommend reading Jared Diamond’s “Guns Germs and Steel” specifically the chapter “From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy”.

    This little experiment at civilization,(in my opinion already a completely failed one ) that we are currently so invested in is but a blink of an eye in human history. We are apparently built to be linear thinkers and the complex systems such as the global economy that we live in are not amenable to analysis by such thinking we are living in a fractal chaotic reality and even worse we are unable predict the “Black Swans”, and that of course is a refernece to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s recent best seller.

    As for why people who can see bottom-up self-organization of competing biological systems not being able to see the same principles in complex systems such as governments and the economy is probably research material for cognitive neuro scientists, however it probably has a lot to do with our own biological evolution. Nest’ pas?

  193. #195 ColonelFazackerly
    April 16, 2009

    Wish I had not googled teab… at work

  194. #196 Ineffable
    April 16, 2009
  195. #197 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 16, 2009

    “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”–Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

    ‘Nuff said.

  196. #198 MTS
    April 16, 2009

    I’m a middle-aged straight guy, happily married for more than 20 years, utterly monogamous for longer than that, who, as one of my college roommates said, “lived through the sexual revolution without firing a shot” and EVEN I KNOW WHAT TEABAGGING IS, for cryin’ out loud.

  197. #199 JasonTD
    April 16, 2009

    Re: 197
    Actually, that’s not enough said. That taxes need to exist is a given to all but the absolute fringe of political thought. But how to implement taxes and how high to set them is still a very open question. A progressive tax system is the right way to go, but when it is too steeply progressive, then it becomes a problem.

    As a taxpayer, this is how I envision a fair system of progressive taxation:

    1) There should always be smooth transitions between tax ‘brackets’ so that it reduces the desire and benefit to find loopholes to reduce tax payments.
    2) It should be simple so that people don’t waste resources trying to comply with tax law or find the loopholes.
    3) Everyone but those in true poverty should pay at least some tax.
    4) Those with more wealth can certainly afford more. At some point, though, taxation can go from being progressive to punishing the wealthy for having wealth.

    Do federal taxes fit these guidelines? In my opinion, it fails in all but #4.

    1) Finding deductions that drop someone to a lower bracket is part of the game of filling out a 1040 form. People shouldn’t be looking for things to do that lower their taxes. They should be using their money in the way that best benefits them and let the taxes part take care of itself.

    2) How many billions of dollars a year in economic activity is based solely on dealing with tax issues? This is effort that could be expended somewhere productive. The typical taxpayer that doesn’t have any extraordinary circumstances should be able to figure out his/her taxes for the year in an hour or less and on a form that takes a page or two. The federal tax code is so complex and so full of loopholes that it can’t possibly be fair. The more money you have, the more worthwhile it is to hire an expert to dig through the tax code and find you ways of paying less. Also, every tax break comes with a constituency that wants to keep it. The tax code has gotten so convoluted because politicians are always looking for ways either to pay back favors (campaign contributions) or ‘encourage’ some particular favored activity.

    3) We are moving closer every year toward half of the country not paying any federal income tax. Both common sense and fairness say that this is a bad place to be. Everyone that has a stake in how the government works (i.e. everyone) should be paying something. There are always state and local sales taxes, federal taxes on gasoline, etc. that people in poverty will pay, so I don’t have a problem with federal income taxes being zero for the most poor. But the continuing climb in those not paying any needs to stop and even be lowered.

    4) Here, I feel like we are currently in the right ballpark as far as how the tax rates work for those that range from middle class to the upper classes. Just be wary of the urge to push ever more of the tax burden on the wealthy. I don’t think we’re there yet, but it will turn around discourage the creation of wealth to continue increasing taxes eventually. That would hurt everyone.

  198. #200 Natalie
    April 16, 2009

    Jason @ 113:

    I don’t quibble with laying bailouts at the feet of Congress and the President, which at the time meant both parties. Jenny’s first comment, however, was characterizing the bailouts as Obama’s baby only, which is clearly untrue. (She corrected herself or elaborated at the same time I was responding to her.) If you don’t like the bailouts, great – criticize them. But blaming the bailouts on Obama is inaccurate.

    AG, perhaps you should read the post that I was responding to. You don’t seem to get the point. Then again, you are a libertarian…

  199. #201 Ahnald Brownshwagga the Monkey
    April 16, 2009

    Ad hominem attacks get us nowhere…

  200. #202 Stu
    April 16, 2009

    Doctors can of course, organize as they already have, with marketing ploys such as board certifications.

    Sweet jebus you’re a flaming bag of stupid. Absolutely shameless.

  201. #203 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 16, 2009

    Speaking of Teabagging (ok not really and this is a thread derailer but I have to) our old buddy Rooke has said something of noteworthy stupidity at Ed’s blog.

    Go read it. Seriously.

  202. #204 Stu
    April 16, 2009

    Just be wary of the urge to push ever more of the tax burden on the wealthy. I don’t think we’re there yet, but it will turn around discourage the creation of wealth to continue increasing taxes eventually.

    Are you seriously saying that people won’t want to be rich if the upper tax rates are too high?

  203. #205 Paul
    April 16, 2009

    4) Those with more wealth can certainly afford more. At some point, though, taxation can go from being progressive to punishing the wealthy for having wealth.

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that. However, we’re not dealing with Eisenhower 90% tax rates here. The fact that people are acting like the sky is falling over a 3% increase in the marginal tax rate, bringing it back to Clinton levels, is being reacted to by such fervor (and mostly by people whose tax burden is decreasing) just shows that the movement is far more ideologically based than reality based.

  204. #206 NoEtherealsAllowed
    April 16, 2009

    “Texas Could Secede, Leave Union” [hje #146]

    Damn! I wish I had a nickle for every time I’ve heard that line. I’d be among those people who will be receiving tax increases.

    Rick Perry is an utter moron. I’ve always held the opinion that he believes everyone in Texas is ignorant and stupid. At least that is the way he always comes across to me. Many honestly could be by now with the shit education/education system we have down here. I long for the day when he is gone. I just worry about what (oops, *who*) is going take his place.

    Texas, independent of the United States, is almost laughable. Federal aid would convert to foreign aid (that would be a grave cultural and economic shock) and the legal and financial changes would be far more than what most people would expect. I wonder how many Texans would be stupid enough to vote for secession? Is there a poll around internet somewhere?

    “[shamar #148] No…I live in Texas :-(
    That’s all I need right now…..”

    I do share that sentiment with you, but don’t fret too much over it. I’ve heard this same line for 52 years and nothing has ever come of it. People down here tend to spout secession whenever they are pissed off at the US government. Unfortunately, we are usually being run by a batch of nitwits, so it does make me a little uneasy to hear that Rick Perry said this even though I know he is nothing more than an old bag of steaming hot air.

    I still kick myself in the ass for leaving Tacoma, WA to come back here.

  205. #207 JasonTD
    April 16, 2009

    Stu,

    Are you seriously saying that people won’t want to be rich if the upper tax rates are too high?

    Of course not. But if you think about how many people get ‘rich’, raising taxes does make a difference. Once you get past a certain point, more and more people that are in the upper incomes are getting their money from investments or from owning a business rather than a salary. The only risk in having a salaried position is whether or not your employer stays in business or can afford to keep giving you raises. (Or that you’ll be considered to be incompetent and fired.) So, higher tax rates won’t discourage people from trying to get a raise, no. But a business or an investment involves substantial risk of actually losing money. Therefore, how much profit a person gets to keep is part of the calculation in deciding whether the additional risk of trying to build or expand a business is worthwhile. That is how taxes that are ‘too’ high can impair wealth creation in the economy.

    I’ll repeat, though, that I don’t believe that such taxes are too high right now, or even with the increases Obama and Congressional Democrats are proposing. I’m just saying that we can’t keep going higher and higher indefinitely and not expect it to slow down economic growth.

  206. #208 'Tis Himself
    April 16, 2009

    Jason TD,

    The Laffer Curve considers the point you’re making in #207.

  207. #209 Paul
    April 16, 2009

    I’d like to take this chance to mention that the Laffer Curve states that when you compare tax rates and tax revenues, there is an inflection point whereby raising tax rates decreases tax revenues. It does not mean that every tax cut will increase tax revenue (yes, I’ve seen this many places on the internets, and it’s disturbing). Not saying you’re implying such, Jason TD, just making it clear before anyone else feels the need to rant about how the Laffer Curve sez taxes should be cut.

  208. #210 Robocop
    April 16, 2009

    Despite the Reagan bashing that seems de rigueur around here, the economics realities are moteworthy. The facts (from standard official governmental sources):

    * The average annual growth rate of real GDP from 1981 to 1989 was 3.2 percent per year, compared with 2.8 percent from 1974 to 1981 and 2.1 percent from 1989 to 1995. By the end of the Reagan years, the American economy was almost one-third larger than it was when they began. GDP growth per adult aged 20-64 in the Reagan years grew twice as rapidly, on average, as it did in the pre- and post-Reagan years.
    * Real median household income rose by $4,000 in the Reagan years–from $37,868 in 1981 to $42,049 in 1989, a stark reversal of the income trends in the late 1970s and the 1990s: median family income was unchanged in the eight pre-Reagan years, and incomes fell by $1,438 in the 1990s.
    * From 1981 through 1989 the U.S. economy produced 17 million new jobs. The United States has averaged only 1.3 million new jobs per year in the post-Reagan years.
    * When Reagan took office in 1981, the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. When Reagan left office, the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent.
    * In 1980 the CPI rose to 13.5 percent. In 1988, Reagan’s last year in office, the CPI had fallen to 4.1 percent.
    * In 1981 the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 17.6 percent of all personal income taxes, but by 1988 their share had jumped to 27.5 percent. The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988. Despite significant tax cuts, individual income tax revenues rose from $244 billion in 1980 to $446 billion in 1989.

  209. #211 Ichthyic
    April 16, 2009

    did you bother to compare those figures to those during the WHOLE 8 years of the Clinton Administration?

    no, you didn’t, for obvious reasons.

    did you happen to note the effects of the knee-jerk de-regulation efforts of the Reagan neocons?

    I’d say you missed that one, too.

    perhaps you might also want to google: “Why Reganomics failed”

    http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en&tab=nw#hl=en&q=why+reaganomics+failed&aq=4&oq=why+reagan&fp=yRYoTCrUkHA

    Reagan himself was nothing but an ignorant, addle-headed vehicle for the neocons to test ridiculously poorly conceived ideologies with.

    Having been a Californian during the years Reagan was groomed for Governor there, I watched it happen “from the ground up” as it were.

    The Neocon movement is DEAD, as well it should be.

    No doubt it will soon enough rebirth itself as some other projection of rich guilt; another rationalization masquerading as “philosophy”.

    I for one am fucking glad I won’t be there when it does.

  210. #212 Troublesome Frog
    April 16, 2009

    I don’t understand why people insist on taking data from an upturn that follows a period of economic stagnation and assuming that whatever happened during that upturn caused the temporary trend that led to mean reversion. For example, cutting the dividend tax right after a major stock market downswing and the noting that capital gains tax receipts increased the following year should not be stunning to anybody. Of course they increased! You’re comparing them to the receipts at the bottom of a stock price trough!

    Comparing the numbers to historical norms and taking into account that growth numbers necessarily compare the current state of things to the immediately previous state makes it more difficult to see “noteworthy” trends in the economic data of the 1980s.

    I also have a hard time attributing the Federal Reserve’s assault on inflation to Reagan’s tax policies.

    I’m not suggesting that the analysis is totally nuts. I’m just not a fan of cargo cult economics.

  211. #213 mythusmage
    April 17, 2009

    I must ask, where did “teabagging” as applied to TEA Party activities come from. I know how it’s applied in sexual situations, but what about tax protests? Who first applied it to TEA Party protests, and why?

  212. #214 Africangenesis
    April 17, 2009

    Troublesome Frog,

    “I also have a hard time attributing the Federal Reserve’s assault on inflation to Reagan’s tax policies.”

    That would be hard, since Volcker slammed the brakes on the economy before Reagan took office. Reagan viewed inflation has too much money chasing too few goods and his plan was to produce our way out of the inflation. Volcker thought destroying hundreds of billions of dollars of GDP was the way to break the “inflation psychology”, and people accepted this even though he wasn’t a psychologist or a madison avenue executive. Since the recession was a fait accompli before he was inaugurated, Reagan had to accept the counter productive Volcker policies.

    “For example, cutting the dividend tax right after a major stock market downswing and the noting that capital gains tax receipts increased the following year should not be stunning to anybody. Of course they increased! You’re comparing them to the receipts at the bottom of a stock price trough!”

    Isn’t it simpler than that? Reducing the ill advised double tax on dividends increases the value of dividend paying stocks, so, of course, any sales of that stock would result in increased capital gains tax reciepts. But, the main reason for eliminating the double taxation of dividends (which Bush tried but failed to achieve) is to achieve a more stable, less leveraged economy so that recessions and layoffs are less likely. Double taxing dividends while single taxing interest on debt, favors risky leverage financing over equity financing, and incrases to cost of capital, and makes fewer projects economically affordable.

    It is basic economics.

  213. #215 eddie
    April 17, 2009

    I half expected Janine, Insulting Sinner OM to get here before me;

    Alex Harvey

  214. #216 Mary
    April 18, 2009

    Africangenesis’ posts on the economic crisis are ahistorical – but I’m too tired to write and I want to go to bed. For a few articles/analyses on Reagan’s role in economic crisis:

    http://www.laprogressive.com/2008/09/11/blame-ronald-reagan-for-our-current-economic-crisis/

    http://hnn.us/articles/53527.html

    http://tpzoo.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/krugman-reagan-deregulation-lead-to-economic-crisis/

    If i can be motivated to come back to this thread I will post more.

  215. #217 DingoDave
    April 18, 2009

    These Tea-baggers remind me of what happens to the victims of the parasitic wasp Ampulex compressa.

    Here’s what these wasps do.

    When it’s time for a female to lay an egg, she finds a cockroach to make her egg’s host, and proceeds to deliver two precise stings. The first she delivers to the roach’s mid-section, causing its front legs to buckle. The brief paralysis caused by the first sting gives the wasp the luxury of time to deliver a more precise sting to the head.
    The wasp slips her stinger through the roach’s exoskeleton and directly into its brain. She probes the roach’s brain until she reaches one particular spot that appears to control the escape reflex. She then injects a second venom that influences the cockroach in such a way that it’s escape reflex disappears.

    From the outside, the effect is surreal. The wasp does not paralyze the cockroach. In fact, the roach is able to lift up its front legs again and walk. But now it cannot move of its own accord. The wasp takes hold of one of the roach’s antennae and leads it like a dog on a leash.

    The zombie roach crawls where its master leads, which turns out to be the wasp’s burrow. The roach creeps obediently into the burrow and sits there quietly, while the wasp plugs up the burrow with pebbles. Now the wasp turns to the roach once more and lays an egg on its underside. The roach does not resist. The egg hatches, and the larva chews a hole in the side of the roach. Then in it goes.

    The larva grows inside the roach, devouring the organs of its host, for about eight days. It is then ready to weave itself a cocoon–which it makes within the roach as well. After four more weeks, the wasp grows to an adult. It breaks out of its cocoon, and out of the roach as well. Seeing a full-grown wasp crawl out of a cockroach suddenly makes those Alien movies look pretty derivative.

    Ampulex does not want to kill these cockroaches. It doesn’t even want to paralyze them the way spiders and snakes do, since it is too small to drag a big paralyzed roach into its burrow. So instead it just delicately retools the roach’s neural network to take away its motivation for self-defence.

    The wasp venom somehow puts the roaches into suspended animation while keeping them in good health, even as a wasp larva is devouring it from the inside.

    http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2006/02/02/the_wisdom_of_parasites.php

    Perhaps we should re-name these clueless teabaggers, ‘Zombie Roaches’ instead.

  216. #218 'Tis Himself
    April 18, 2009

    Thanks, DingoDave, for showing us that even cockroaches have their uses.

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